Mega study shows youth marijuana use doesn’t increase in legal states

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Analysis of 55 different studies shows no increase in youth marijuana consumption post-legalization

Now that 31 states have legalized marijuana, there will be a greater amount of data available to prove, or disprove, some of the myths surrounding marijuana use. One of these – that marijuana leads to greater crime – has already been busted. Next in line, the belief that legalization would lead to more teenagers taking up the marijuana habit. That myth has now also been potentially busted, as evidenced by a recent massive study on youth consumption indicates.

An analysis of 55 different marijuana studies was published this week in the Current Addiction Reports journal. The analyze took a holistic approach to examining scientific literature, reviewing a total of 55 different studies. As many in the industry may have anticipated, the study shows that there has not been an increase in teenage marijuana use in states where cannabis has been legalized. Additionally, researchers pointed out that the myth of higher use among teenagers post-legalization failed to mention that use was already higher pre-legalization.

The researchers explained that the studies “suggest that passage of [medical marijuana laws] has not increased cannabis use among teenagers during the periods after their passage that has been studied to date.”

Another interesting revelation from the study was that there was no correlation between a higher rate of adult consumption and higher rates of cannabis use disorder. The researchers explained, “Despite the increase in the prevalence of adult cannabis use, the prevalence of cannabis use disorders among adults in the past year did not change (remaining at 1.5 percent [from 2002 to 2004]). More surprisingly still, the prevalence of [cannabis use disorder] among adults who used cannabis in the past year declined from 14.8 percent in 2002 to 11.0 percent in 2014.”

Meta-analytical studies, such as this, are beneficial because they “potentially detect weak effects that may not be present in all or any of the individual studies.” However, in this case, “the results supported the findings of the individual studies.”