Youth treatment admissions for cannabis has recorded a sharp decline in states that have legalized the drug. A federal report showed that the teen admission rate for cannabis misuse dropped by nearly half during the 2008-2017 period.
According to peer-reviewed research published on Thursday last week by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, medical cannabis laws appear to have no connection to the teen treatment rates.
Legalization critics had predicted that repealing bans on the drug and allowing it’s public use could lead to high rates of youth substance abuse. The report, however, seems to refute this warning.
The study published in the CDC journal GIS says consistent with low medical marijuana and adolescents marijuana use, medical legalization status does not appear to correspond to treatment admission trends.
The study added that 7 of 8 states that legalized recreational use of cannabis also recorded the highest admission decline level.
The report further outlined 12 states, including Oregon, California, and Washington, that initially recorded high admission rates, which have since fallen between 2008-2017.
The states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and South Carolina were not included in the report due to insufficient data.
Reasons behind the new trend were not immediately apparent in the report. However, Jeremy Mennis, author and professor at Temple University, writes that the probable cause for the decline includes changes in attitude towards marijuana and differences in marijuana use and CUD incidents (Cannabis Use Disorder).
Mennis observed that the availability of treatment, health insurance, and socioeconomic factors contributed to the sharp decline.
The CDC report explained that regardless of the causes of the new trend, a significant drop in teen treatment admissions was high in States that have legalized recreational marijuana.
The patterns changed within the period of increased permissiveness, decreased perception of harm, and increased adult use.