By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Fewer adolescents are consuming cannabis; among those who do, fewer are engaging in problematic use of the plant, according to newly published data in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis evaluated government survey data on adolescents' self-reported drug use during the years 2002 to 2013. Over 216,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 participated in the federally commissioned surveys.
Researchers reported that the percentage of respondents who said that they had used cannabis over the past year fell by ten percent during the study period. The number of adolescents reporting problems related to marijuana, such as engaging in habitual use of the plant, declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2013.
The study's lead author acknowledged that the declines in marijuana use and abuse were "substantial."
The study's findings are consistent with previous evaluations reporting decreased marijuana use and abuse by young people over the past decade and a half --- a period of time during which numerous states have liberalized their marijuana policies.
An abstract of the new study, "Declining prevalence of marijuana use disorders among adolescents in the United States, 2002 to 2013," appears online here.