Teens Say Marijuana Is Becoming Less Available
Fewer teens are reporting that marijuana is “easy” to obtain, according to an analysis published online by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Investigators evaluated annual data compiled by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the years 2002 to 2014. Researchers reported that the percentage of respondents aged 12 to 17 years who perceived marijuana to be “fairly easy or very easy to obtain” fell by 13% during this time period. Among those ages 18 to 25, marijuana’s perceived availability decreased by 3%.
The researchers further reported that “since 2002, the prevalence of marijuana use and initiation among U.S. youth has declined”—a finding that’s consistent with prior studies.
By contrast, the CDC reported an uptick in use among adults. However, they acknowledged that this increase in consumption has not been associated with a parallel increase in problematic use. There have been “steady decreases in the prevalence of marijuana dependence and abuse among adult marijuana users since 2002,” the study found. Those adults experiencing the greatest percentage of increased marijuana use during the study period were over the age of 55.
A separate analysis of the data published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry similarly acknowledged no observed increase in marijuana use disorders in teens or adults. A previous assessment of marijuana use patterns since 2002, published earlier this year in JAMA Psychiatry, reported a decline in the percentage of adults reporting problems related to their marijuana use.
Full text of the CDC study, “National estimates of marijuana use and related indicators – National Survey on Drug Use and Health, United States, 2002-2014,” appears online here.
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