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New research has found that seniors in high school within states where the medical use of marijuana is allowed had a higher likelihood of vaping marijuana, in comparison to seniors within states where the drug’s use is legal for recreational use or is prohibited.
Washington State University PhD student Christian Maynard and Professor Jennifer Schwartz of the sociology department at the institution carried out the study.
For their research, the investigators conducted an analysis obtained from the Monitoring the Future survey, which was comprised of responses on marijuana consumption from more than 3,700 seniors in high school. Of those students participating in the survey, 592 of them expressed their views on the perceived hazards linked to vaping while 620 reported on marijuana vapes accessibility.
Overall, the researchers found that seniors in states that permitted the recreational use of cannabis were more than two times as likely to have ever vaporized marijuana in the last year, compared to those in states that prohibited adult-use marijuana. A reported 56.4% and 62.2% of seniors in medicinal-use as well as adult-use jurisdictions/states also reported ease of access to vaping equipment such as cartridges.
In their report, the researchers stated that seniors who could easily access marijuana cartridges were at least thrice as likely to ever have vaped marijuana in the last year. They also found that the perceived risk linked to marijuana use was 40% for seniors in states that prohibited marijuana use, 35.5% for those that permitted adult-use marijuana and 31.3% for those in medical-use states.
In a press release, Maynard stated that the researchers expected results from adult-use and medical states to be similar but were surprised to observe no statistical difference between adult-use and prohibited states. The researchers wrote in Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports that there was a growing prevalence of vaping among adolescents. In their report, they referenced data from Monitoring the Future survey, which demonstrated a 12% increase in lifetime prevalence of marijuana vaping for 12th graders in the 2017–2019 period.
The researchers also highlighted that additional research was required on whether legal context was linked to an increase in marijuana vaping by adolescents. They then added that research had not evaluated how factors such as acceptability of regular use of marijuana and perceived availability of marijuana vaping products diminished the effects of legal context on marijuana vaping.
Schwartz and Maynard also wrote that future studies needed to use the longitudinal Monitoring the Future survey to better evaluate causality of legal contexts on the consumption of marijuana and techniques by adolescents.
This study suggests that it is easier to keep youth away from some marijuana products if there is a legal market for the substance in a given state. This would add onto the many benefits proponents of legalization enumerate, besides creating downstream opportunities for other lines of business such as the niche products of enterprises such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX).
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