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Recent federal data reveals that rates of marijuana usage among high school students have decreased even as more states legalize the drug. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was released last week, indicated that teen usage of all substances tracked, including alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana, has fallen linearly over the past 10 years.
The federal analysis reveals that marijuana use among high school kids was high between 2009 and 2013 — before legal cannabis outlets began to open — but it has since been generally declining. Voters passed the first state laws allowing for recreational use in 2012, and regulated retail sales started in 2014.
According to the most recent statistics from the biennial survey, 15.8% of high school students reported consuming marijuana at least once in the previous 30 days in 2021. This is a considerable decrease from 23.4% in 2013.
Health officials are encouraged by the trend, although they have noted that social isolation policies brought on by the coronavirus epidemic probably played a factor in how much juvenile substance abuse fell in the most recent two-year measurement period. Nevertheless, the general trend runs counter to one of the most popular prohibitionist justifications for opposing cannabis legalization. Despite their assertions, research and surveys, including federally funded ones, have repeatedly demonstrated that legalizing marijuana for adults will not increase teen use.
In fact, the YRBS survey found that marijuana use in high schools peaked in the years before any recreational cannabis dispensary was opened. And since then, as more and more marketplaces have opened up online, fewer young people now report consuming cannabis. Additionally, fewer teenagers claim to have ever used marijuana. In 2021, 27.8% of teenagers reported having used marijuana at least once in their lives, a decrease of more than 10% from the figure in 2019, which was 36.8%.
While COVID likely also played a role in the sudden fall in cannabis use observed in 2021, cannabis patterns have remained constant throughout the reform. For instance, research financed by NIDA and released in the “American Preventive Medicine Journal” last year revealed no correlation between the legalization of cannabis at the state level and a rise in juvenile use. According to the study, teenagers who used cannabis more frequently during adolescence had no increased or decreased likelihood of doing so at the age of 15 compared to those who used it less frequently or never.
As more companies such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) register success in developing FDA-approved medicines from marijuana, it is possible that people will look at marijuana as a medicine, and juvenile use could decrease even further as access to these medicines is regulated through the healthcare system while recreational use is subject to age-verification in the states which permit adult-use marijuana.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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