Study shows Washington teens not using marijuana post-legalization

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The number of teenagers using marijuana in Washington continues to drop

A new round of studies shows that marijuana use by teens in Washington State continues to drop. While it was previously thought that more adolescents would turn to consumption following the legalization of cannabis, the research shows that the opposite has happened. Over the past six years, the number of teenage users has dropped and the trend seems to be continuing.

The study was published in the Jama Pediatrics journal and involved analysis of data taken from an anonymous school-based survey of teenagers across various grades. The researchers looked at data during two timeframes – 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016 – and compared this to date from another survey, Monitoring the Future.

What they found was that teenagers from 15 to 16 years old in Washington reported a decrease from 20% to 18% in marijuana use. Younger teens – 12 to 13 years of age – showed a decline from 10% to 7%, but no change among 17- to 18-year olds was noted.

The indications are promising for those states that are considering legalized marijuana, as well as for the federal government. While some research indicates that there may be detrimental effects on the development of the brain in early adolescence, the findings are a positive sign that the U.S. won’t become a country full of doped-up teenagers. Just as alcohol can affect cerebral growth, so can marijuana. However, when addressed appropriately, misuse of any illegal substances by teenagers can be controlled.