non-college kids smoke more weed
non-college kids smoke more weed

Kids Going to College Smoke Less Weed Than Non-College Bound Kids Says New Medical Study

Post legalization shows a jump in cannabis use in kids not going to college compared to their college-bound counterparts

Posted by:
Laurel Leaf on Sunday Sep 3, 2023

non college kdis smoke more weed

According to a study conducted by scholars from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Oregon State University, utilizing national data, it was discovered that in states where recreational marijuana had been legalized, non-college-bound young adults exhibited a higher propensity to become frequent marijuana users compared to their counterparts in states where it remained illegal. These research findings have been documented in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


Following the legalization of marijuana at the state level, it was observed that young adults were more likely to meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder, indicating that they continued to use the drug despite experiencing adverse consequences in their lives. These patterns were not evident among young adults enrolled in college.


The study relied on data from the National Drug Use and Health Survey from 2008 to 2019. This survey targeted young adults between 18 and 23 who were eligible for college and inquired about their usage of drugs and alcohol. The dataset accurately represented the demographic makeup of young adults on both a national and state level. Moreover, as the researchers noted, this study examined a longer post-legalization time frame than previous investigations.


Result From The Findings

David Kerr, Ph.D., a professor at OSU's School of Psychological Science and the study's primary author, commented, "It might surprise some that research findings regarding the impact of marijuana legalization on young adults' cannabis use have been inconsistent. Our findings reveal that, before legalization, 23% of non-college young adults reported using cannabis in the past month, compared to 28% after legalization."


Among young adults not enrolled in college, there was a 5%-point increase in the proportion reporting past-month cannabis use, rising from 23% to 28% following legalization. Conversely, college students in the same age group experienced a more modest 1-percentage-point increase, from 20% to 21%.


Furthermore, the prevalence of frequent cannabis use, defined as using the drug at least 20 times in the past month, exhibited a more substantial increase among non-college young adults, climbing from 12% to 14%. In contrast, the prevalence among college students remained at 7% and did not change post-legalization. Notably, the research did not consider that cannabis potency is higher in states where it is legal and has seen a significant increase over time.


Among non-college participants, the prevalence of cannabis use disorder also rose, increasing from 12% to 15%, while it remained steady at 10% among college students.

The Impact of Cannabis Availability and Advertising

David Kerr commented on the findings, stating that their research did not investigate the reasons behind these shifts. However, he noted that in states where recreational cannabis use is legalized, the drug is readily available and advertised, potentially contributing to these changes.


Additionally, American attitudes toward the benefits and risks of cannabis use have been evolving rapidly. He cited a report from the Monitoring the Future study, which revealed that in 2020, only 21% of young adults believed that regular cannabis use posed a risk of harm, compared to 58% of young adults two decades ago.


The study's authors also pointed out that increased societal acceptance of cannabis use could influence the rate at which individuals experience cannabis use disorder, as many of the negative consequences associated with the disorder are social.

Cannabis use disorder increased from 12% to 15% among people who were not in college, while it remained constant at 10 percent among college students. If you've been to a state where recreational cannabis use is allowed, you'll see the drug is freely available and extensively advertised.


However, the research doesn't answer why these changes are happening. According to a report from the Monitoring the Future study, only 21% of young adults in 2020 believed regular cannabis use puts people at risk of harm, down from 58 percent of young adults in 2000, Kerr said. "Americans' beliefs about the benefits and harms of cannabis use are also changing rapidly," Kerr said.


Because many of the adverse effects linked to cannabis use disorder are social, the authors speculate that increased acceptance of cannabis use on a societal level may impact the rate at which users develop cannabis use disorder.


According to Kerr, cannabis use disorder involves an inability to accomplish essential responsibilities at job, school, or home, followed by chronic use. "There may be fewer social consequences now that the environment is more accommodating," he said. "If so, our findings may have underestimated these increases," he continued.

The survey also revealed that recent cannabis use grew higher among young individuals aged 21 to 23 (21% to 26%) than among those aged 18 to 20 (22% to 23%) in states where it had been legal.


According to Kerr, it increased more among those who could legally purchase and use it, which is consistent with our earlier research. "It suggests that the law provisions requiring people to be at least 21 years old are at least somewhat effective."


"Researchers should continue to monitor changes in the prevalence of cannabis use, frequent cannabis use, and cannabis use disorder among young adults while the cannabis landscape in the U.S. continues to evolve," said senior author Silvia Martins, MD, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. It's crucial to comprehend why gains have been more noticeable in young adults without college degrees.

The co-authors are Harold Bae from Oregon State University, Anne Boustead from Arizona State University, and Natalie Levy from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The National Institute on Drug Abuse provided funding for the study.


In conclusion, the study conducted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers and Oregon State University highlights the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on young adults. Based on a comprehensive analysis of national data spanning 2008 to 2019, the findings underscore that in states where recreational marijuana is legal, non-college-bound young adults are more likely to become frequent users.

Notably, cannabis use disorder also increased among this group, reflecting potential consequences. While the study didn't definitively explain these trends, factors such as increased cannabis availability and evolving societal attitudes were considered. Monitoring these dynamics among young adults is crucial as marijuana legalization gro





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