Study: Legal Weed Doesn’t Increase Teen Use
1 min

Study: Legal Weed Doesn’t Increase Teen Use

1 min

The underage use of cannabis is a big issue in the legalisation debate and a health concern of the government across the world. Fortunately, it looks like legal cannabis doesn’t make things worse.

One of the biggest worries of cannabis prohibitionists and a main argument against legalisation is that legal cannabis, even when just for medical purposes, increases teen use. Yet study after study has actually shown that no, this is not the case. Some have even shown that, if anything, teenage use of cannabis goes down where it is legal.

A team from the Columbia University in New York have decided to add their voice to the debate, assessing the federal data of self-reported marijuana use by teens aged 12-17 in US states with legal medical marijuana between the years of 2002 and 2011.

What they found was that a change in the law permitting the prescription of medical marijuana did not cause an increase in underage cannabis use. They did point out that states with legal medical marijuana tended to have higher teenage usage rates in general when compared to states with no medical marijuana programme, but these high ratios of use were already present before weed was legalised, and were not affected by legalisation.

“While states with MML (medical marijuana laws) feature higher rates of adolescent marijuana use, to date, no major U.S. national data set, including the NSDUH (US National Survey on Drug Use in Households), supports that MML are a cause of these higher use levels,” the paper concluded. “[...] When within-state changes are properly considered and pre-MML prevalence is properly controlled, there is no evidence of a differential increase in past-month marijuana use in youth that can be attributed to state medical marijuana laws.”

It just goes to show, the evidence in favour of legalisation, especially on medical grounds, grows stronger every day. Those who deny a potential benefit to society need to pull their heads out of the sand and get with the times. It isn’t the 70’s anymore, calling cannabis names and hoping no-one notices doesn’t work these days.



Written by: Josh
Writer, psychonaut and cannabis aficionado, Josh is Zamnesia’s in-house expert. He spends his days nestled out in the countryside, delving into the hidden depths of all things psychoactive in nature.

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Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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