Cannabis legalization in Colorado has not led to an increase in teen use; however, it has changed the way young people consume cannabis products, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics outlined by the Associated Press.
In 2017, about 78 percent of Colorado high school students reported smoking cannabis, down from 87 percent in 2015. About 10 percent of those surveyed indicated they had consumed cannabis edibles in 2017 – up from 2 percent two years prior – and another 7.5 percent said they had used dabs, up from 4 percent in 2015.
Kayla Tormohlen, a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of the study said that knowing the trends of teen cannabis use “can help inform public health efforts” as more states legalize use.
“Since the implementation of retail marijuana sales, we haven’t seen an increase in use among youth but we are seeing a difference in how young people are consuming.” – Tormohlen, to the AP
A 2018 California Healthy Kids Survey found that teen use had decreased post-legalization in the state. Overall, there was a 3.7 percent decrease in cannabis use among 7th graders, a 5.7 percent decrease among 9th graders, and a 6 percent decrease among 11th graders.
Another study published in JAMA Pediatrics last month found an 8 percent decline in the number of high schoolers who have used cannabis within the last 30 days, and a 9 percent drop among teenagers who have used cannabis 10 times in the last month. That study analyzed high school surveys from 1993 to 2017, which represents about 1.4 million student surveys.
The July study suggests that teen use declined because “it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”
The researchers focused on Colorado found just 3 percent of teens who admitted to smoking cannabis said they had obtained the products from a dispensary, while 40 percent said they bought it from someone else. Others obtained it from friends, parents, or adult family members.
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