May 27, 2022 - Health

Teen cannabis use likelier in legalization states

Illustration of a checkmark with a marijuana leaf on the end.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

States that legalized recreational marijuana use for adults were likelier to see teens partake as well, according to a study published in Addiction.

Why it matters: The findings add new evidence of a connection between legalizing adult use and a surge of use among kids.

  • Marijuana can have adverse health effects on adolescents and affect brain development, according to the CDC. 

Details: The study looked at usage data from nearly 22,000 people in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine.

  • Researchers also found evidence that adults were more likely to begin using marijuana compared to their counterparts in states where it is not legal, the study found.

What they're saying: "It's especially concerning that increased cannabis use occurs among young people because of the detrimental health effects associated with cannabis use at a young age," Yuyan Shi, study author with the University of California San Diego School of Public Health, said in a release.

Yes, but: It's an area still ripe for research. Previous studies, such as a 2020 analysis of some state-level data, found that cannabis use trends remained steady or even dropped in states where it was legalized.

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