As cannabis becomes deregulated more and more, a new set of questions arise regarding use and misuse, particularly among youth and young adults. However, According to a study published in the journal Addictive behaviors, the legalization of marijuana cannot be associated with an increase in the frequency of use of the plant among young adults.
A team out of the University of California, San Diego set out to test the hypothesis that cannabis use frequency would increase after the enactment of recreational sales. Along with the increase of marijuana usage, they also questioned if this model could be used to predict an increase of nicotine and tobacco consumption.
To test their hypothesis, researchers followed 563 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 quarterly over a period of three years, which spanned a time frame immediately prior to legalization to just after the enactment of legislation changes. Results from the three-year study demonstrated on a piecewise, multilevel regression model showed that frequency of cannabis use did not change in a meaningful way after legalization. It did however show that women and e-cigarette users showed an increased interest in marijuana use.
Overall cannabis legalization has had little effect on day-to-day consumption among young cannabis users. Time will tell how this landmark evidence for an ever-emerging product with increased marketing and development will influence interest in cannabis. As we seemingly approach the potential federal legalization of marijuana it will be particularly important to continue observing consumption patterns among all different types of demographics to reach a better understanding of how a more open market can change usage.
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