Legalised Cannabis: Adult Use Increases, Teen Use Decreases
The idea of legally accessible weed is a dream for many of us here in Europe. For the majority, being able to pop down your local coffeeshop, cannabis club, or dispensary to pick up your favourite strain is still pretty far off. However, for those living in the USA, it is a dream that is being realised. As you can imagine, such a reality offers scientists a lot of data to work with, especially when it comes to usage trends. One of the biggest fears about legally accessible weed held by the anti-cannabis side of things is that it causes usage to increase, especially in teenagers. Well, the latest longitudinal research would suggest there is no need to worry so much. More adults do use cannabis when it is available, but when it comes to teenagers, usage figures drop.
LOOKING AT THE DATA
The research in question looks at data from the US over the last decade, where 23 states have legalised cannabis in one form or another. The emphasis was on reviewing how the change in drug law affected rates of drug use – especially as more and more states move towards legalising recreational use.
Using information obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was found that not only are fewer teenagers using cannabis, but they also aren’t viewing it as the super dangerous drug prohibitionists want them to believe it is. Thanks to things like smartphones, today’s youth are extremely well informed. It is easy to hop online and look up facts, as well as question the information they are given. The result is a generation that rarely accepts information point-blank. It is something prohibitionists aren’t really picking up on, as demonstrated by the recent “Stoner Sloth” fiasco, that aimed to scare teenagers out of using cannabis, but just ended up patronising them.
The authors of the study speculated that this dip in perceived danger could lead to even greater numbers using cannabis when they reach adulthood. However, it would be just as easy to speculate that it won't, for the same reason more teen aren't currently using. As people learn about cannabis, they realise it isn't edgy or rebellious, it is just weed. The novelty factor is gone.
And what about adults? Well, it is no surprise to know that more are using. Throughout prohibition, the amount of adults using cannabis has steadily increased. Despite the efforts of anti-cannabis campaigners, the growing body of research supporting the legalisation of cannabis, as well as the research outlining the potential pitfall of cannabis use, has allowed a growing amount of people to make informed decisions. Plus, of the 23 states that have legalised, the majority of them have only done so on medical grounds, suggesting that the increase in adult use is largely down to medical users. More people than ever are using cannabis, and you know what? Society has not collapsed, and the millions of users have not been hit with psychological disorders.
Written by: Josh
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