A study conducted in the US showed that fewer kids use cannabis in areas where it is legalized. It seems that it’s the opposite in Canada.
According to a group of researchers from the Montana State University, teen use of drugs declined by 10% between the years 1993-2017 in states where recreational use of cannabis was legalized.
The study was published in the JAMA medical journal, and the study is extremely thorough as the researchers went through data on about 1.4 million teenagers in the US, which was provided by the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveys.
The lead author, Dr. Mark Anderson, said that the major reason for this is the fact that it is harder for teens to buy in legalized areas due to a lack of illegal dealers, and the high standards of legal stores which card every shopper.
He also said that the decline didn’t happen when medical cannabis was legalized in a particular area, but only when recreational cannabis was legalized.
Anderson pointed out that since only 10 states had legal recreational cannabis at the time the study was conducted, the sample size could be small and thus somewhat inaccurate.
Another study done last year by the Colorado Department of Public Safety shows the rate of use among high school kids didn’t grow in the years after the legalization of recreational cannabis, but the number of high-driving stops did.
Opposite case in Canada
Though the legalization of medical cannabis didn’t have any effect on the number of people using weed in the U.S., Canadians seem to be more easily hooked on it.
According to the UN report which was released just a few days ago, cannabis use in Canada grew by 40% between 2013 and 2017.
In Canada, the cannabis usage rate is the highest among young adults aged 20-24, and the next most populous group is those 25 and older.
Amazingly, the numbers went down in the youngest age group (aged 19 and under) for that period.
However, scientists at the University of Waterloo found that the discussions on cannabis legalization that took part in Canada in 2017 and in 2018 directly led to an increase in consumption among teens, and it is steadily rising.
“The problem was developing while legalization was being discussed, but well before concrete steps to change the law were taken,” said lead author Alex Zuckermann.
As in most other research studies, the highest rate of use was found among male students, while the use among female students dropped.
Cannabis use was the lowest among Asian students.
The Indigenous students showed the highest use rate, as 46% of them admitted to using cannabis in the past year, and over 50% admitted to using it at least once in their lifetime.