Cannabis use among American youth fell in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the increase in the number of states adopting legalization, according to a newly released U.S. federal survey.
As a result, past-year cannabis use among 12- to 17-year-olds dropped from 13.2 percent to 10.1 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Among 18- to 25-year-olds, over-the-year use also dropped from 35.4 percent to 34.5 percent from the previous year.
Use among adults 26 and older, however, has trended upward in recent years.
For this survey, researchers noted that the methodology was modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, interviews were conducted virtually, rather than in person, for safety reasons. Because of this change, “caution should be used when comparing estimates,” they said.
Numerous studies were now that cannabis legalization does not lead to an increase in youth use.
For example, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in September found that rates of cannabis use among teens do not increase after legalizations for medical or recreational purposes.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow also admitted in a recent interview that legalization has not led to an increase in youth use, despite her earlier fears.
In a separate, earlier analysis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that marijuana use among high school students declined during the peak years of state legalization of recreational cannabis.
According to the survey, there was “no change” in the rate of current cannabis use among high school students between 2009 and 2019. However, when analyzed using a quadratic change model, lifetime marijuana use decreased during that time.
Another study released by Colorado officials last year found that youth cannabis use in the state “has not changed significantly since legalization” in 2012, although methods of use are diversifying.
In Canada, cannabis use among 15- to 17-year-olds has dropped 47% since legalization