As marijuana becomes legal in more states in the US, a new report shows an interesting trend among young adults. It turns out that since the drug became legal, more young people outside of college are using it than young people in college.
Marijuana Becomes legal: Before legalization
Before marijuana became legal, 23% of US young people who were not in college said they had used cannabis in the last month. This number went up to 28% after the rules were changed. When it came to college students the same age, however, the rise was very small—only 1%, from 20% to 21%.
Marijuana Becomes legal: What the Numbers Say About the Study
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health was used to collect data for the study, which ran from 2008 to 2019. It asked young people between the ages of 18 and 23 about their drug and alcohol use. What they found was very telling.
Marijuana Becomes legal: How many times do they light up?
One interesting finding was about people who use cannabis often, which is described as at least 20 times in the last month. This went up from 12% to 14% among young people who are not in college. Surprisingly, it stayed the same at 7% among college students.
Marijuana Becomes legal: How to Tell If Weed Is a Problem: Cannabis Use Disorder
The study also looked at cannabis use disorder, which is when someone keeps using the drug even though it makes their life worse. For people who were not in college, this went up from 12% to 15%, but it stayed the same at 10% for college students.
What’s the Difference? Figuring out the Mystery
Dr. Silvia Martins, who helped write the study, said it was important to figure out why these changes are more noticeable in young people who aren’t in college. Researchers were honest when they said that their work doesn’t answer this important question.
Beliefs Shift and Potency Rise
David Kerr, another co-author, said that Americans’ ideas about the pros and cons of weed use are changing very quickly. In 2020, only 21% of young people thought regular cannabis use was dangerous, down from 58% in 2000. Also, cannabis has become much stronger in places where it is legal.
The rise of cannabis use disorder: What does it mean for society?
The researchers thought that the fact that cannabis use is becoming more accepted. And has fewer bad social effects might be one reason why more people are developing cannabis use disorder. Since the drug is easy to get and heavily promoted in states where it is legal, social effects may be decreasing. This could mean that the reported increases are not taken as seriously as they should be.
After age 21, it’s important.
It’s interesting that young people aged 21 to 23 used cannabis more recently than those aged 18 to 20. This fits with the rule that says people must be at least 21 to use marijuana. Which suggests that these laws work in some ways.
Keeping an eye on the Green Wave
The study’s authors stress how important it is to keep an eye on how young adults’ cannabis use habits change as the cannabis landscape in the U.S. changes. As legalization grows, it’s important to know how it affects different groups so that laws and interventions can work well.