Friday, June 21, 2024

Data Debunks Major Myth About Legal Marijuana

The swirl of myths around legal marijuana has been around since the 1920s and Reefer Madness, but now a new study ends one

In the 1930s the US went into a tizzy about cannabis. The government financed a movie named ‘Reefer Madness’ which laid the groundwork for a long term marijuana misconception.  Part of the plot showed evidence of how the lives of four high school students, lured to try marijuana by a drug pusher, spiraled out of control. The movie included a hit and run accident, suicide, homicide, rape, and the rapid descent of marijuana users into madness. The evidence in Reefer Madness was later proven to be utterly false. But a myth was born.

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Anti-marijuana advocates have long said legal marijuana would cause underage use to soar. It is agreed until the age of 21, the brain is still developing. Marijuana, along with alcohol and other drug use, has an impact. Unlike the Camel cigarette campaign, the cannabis industry has been careful to avoid promoting to kids. Now, data debunks major myth about legal marijuana and youth consumption.

Photo by VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

The 2022 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, conducted by the University of Michigan with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—found that rates of past-year cannabis use “remained stable for all three grades surveyed,” remaining below pre-pandemic usage levels even as more state marijuana markets opened and expanded for adults.

“There have been no substantial increases at all,” Marsha Lopez, chief of NIDA’s epidemiological research branch. “In fact, they have not reported an increase in perceived availability either, which is kind of interesting.”

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They reported use for almost all substances decreased dramatically between 2020 and 2021, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related changes like school closures and social distancing. In 2022, most reported substance use among adolescents held steady at these lowered levels, and these latest data show that this trend has continued this year. In 2023, 10.9% of eighth graders, 19.8% of 10th graders, and 31.2% of 12th graders reported any illicit drug use in the past year.

Facts are important when it comes to marijuana legalization. Especially considering the benefits it has for anxiety, PTSD and more.

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