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Study: Rise in Adult Weed Use Is Not Because of Legalization

Maureen Meehan

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Study: Rise in Adult Weed Use is Not Because of Legalization

A new study found that adult weed use is on the rise. But somewhat surprisingly, the sharp rise in cannabis consumption does not stem from the fact that 29 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allow the use of recreational or medical marijuana.

“Medical and recreational marijuana policies did not have any significant association with increased marijuana use,” noted researchers at the Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group.

“Marijuana policy liberalization over the past 20 years has certainly been associated with increased marijuana use; however, policy changes appear to have occurred in response to changing attitudes within states and to have effects on attitudes and behaviors more generally in the U.S.,” the study said.

The analysis examined whether “cohort or period effects play a larger role in explaining trends in marijuana use” than the simple fact of legalization. Period effects are the consequences of changing ideas and perceptions over time, such as when a society collectively changes its attitudes about something like, for example, cannabis.

The researchers noted that increased cannabis use in adults between the ages 18 and 72 had to do more with what is going on in society rather than as a response to policy changes.

“Results indicate that period effects are the main driver of rising marijuana use prevalence,” the study concluded.

People seem to be either consuming or trying marijuana far more openly and frequently in recent years because of the positive research that’s being done, and the increased attention cannabis is receiving.

As the study puts it: “The steep rise in marijuana use in the United States since 2005 occurred across the population and is attributable to general period effects not specifically linked to the liberalization of marijuana policies in some states.”

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