Pot Use Among Teens Decreases As Marijuana Laws Change, Study Finds

Sandra Johnson

Pot use among teens has decreased since 2002, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. In addition, teens today disapprove of pot use more than teens a did a decade ago, the study reports.

Recent changes to marijuana laws in certain states have raised questions about how the use of pot could change, but lead researcher Christopher Salas-Wright believes the study proves that those who were concerned have nothing to worry about. Salas-Wright talked to Yahoo! Parenting about the use of pot among teenagers.

"With decriminalization, medicalization and in some places recreational use, and adults no longer viewing marijuana use as an immoral act, we were concerned how it would affect teen use and attitudes. But, especially at the middle school age, youth became more disapproving, not more permissive. And certainly this data tells us we don't see a dramatic spike at the national level in terms of marijuana use."

The conclusions were reached after researchers examined self-reported questions answered by more than 500,000 teenagers for the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In speaking with Yahoo! Parenting, Salas-Wright said he believes the changing attitude toward pot use among teens to be interesting, especially given the current political climate. As adults move toward becoming more accepting of marijuana use, pot use among teens seems to be less acceptable than in the past, he said.

"It's curious that we are seeing early adolescents becoming more disapproving…We know American adults are starting to view this as non-moral issue. We've seen the country's adults changing, and we're trying to get at what young people think and do."
"It's curious that we are seeing early adolescents becoming more disapproving (of pot use). Next would be to look at what explains the change. Is it a result of prevention efforts? How are changes in policy affecting young people?"

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