Since the state of Washington legalized recreational marijuana for people 21 and older, the number of teenagers lighting up or using the drug has dropped significantly.
This finding is according to new research that was published in Jama Pediatrics where researchers analyzed data from the Washington Healthy Youth Surveys, an anonymous, school-based survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from the year 2010 to 2012 and then again between 2014 and 2016.
The researchers compared this data against a nationally representative Monitoring the Future survey to determine whether there were any differences from other states without legalized recreational marijuana.
They found that in usage observed among 10th graders, marijuana use declined from almost 20 percent to less than 18 percent in that time frame. Among 8th graders, marijuana use fell from nearly 10 percent to just over 7 percent.
These findings do not provide a final answer about how legalization ultimately may influence youth marijuana usage,” remarked study co-author Rosalie Liccardo Pacula. “A variety of factors may influence the behavior of adolescents and those factors are likely to influence behaviors in different ways over time.”
“It is too soon to know the long-term influence that cannabis legalization will have on the prevalence of its use by youths,” wrote the authors.