Student/Youth Usage Studies


Also see: NORML Fact Sheet on Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates

Opponents Falsely Claim Marijuana Use is Up Among California Teens 5/4/2021

Teen Marijuana Treatment Admissions Fell Sharply In States That Legalized, Federal Report Shows 11/20/20

Youth Marijuana Use Isn’t Increasing After States Legalize, Meta-Analysis Of 55 Studies Concludes 9/26/18

Teen Marijuana Use Is Down In California Following Legalization, State-Funded Study Shows 8/20/18

Pennsylvania Sees Negligible Increase in Youth Use After Legalization August 2018

Meta-Analysis: Studies Refute Claims That Medical Cannabis Access Encourages Teen Use February 2018

A leaked Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report shows that youth and adult marijuana treatment admissions in Washington State have sharply declined since legalization. October 2017

Study: No Increase In Problematic Cannabis Use By Young People Following Changes In Marijuana’s Legal Status July 2017
Federal investigators from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration reported that the prevalence of past-year cannabis use by youth fell 17 percent between the years 2002 and 2014. The prevalence of problematic use by young people fell by 25 percent – with a downward trend starting in 2011.

US BJS Study Finds Youth Use Steady or Declining Since Legalization May 2017

A big thing marijuana opponents warned you about is definitely not happening March 2017
A state-run survey of 37,000 middle and high school students in Washington state finds that marijuana legalization there has had no effect on youngsters’ propensity to use it.

Marijuana is Harder Than Ever for Younger Teens to Find
December 2016

Actual use of marijuana dropped among 8th grade students and stagnated among 12th graders. Reported annual use continued a five-year slide among 10th grade students.

Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse told U.S. News, “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.”

CDC: Changes In State Marijuana Laws Associated With Declining Teen Use
June 2016

Marijuana use remains flat among Colorado teens, survey finds June 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics: Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State Shown to have had no effect on teen access May 3, 2016

Federal Study: Passage Of Medical Marijuana Laws Don’t Increase Teen Use June 16, 2015

Marijuana doesn’t cause teens’ IQ drop, study says January 2016

Also see: Blue Ribbon Panel Youth Education and Prevention Working Group reference materials

  • The 2014 NIDA-sponsored Monitoring the Future study found that nationwide:”Marijuana use did not increase despite softening of perceived risks. Past month use of marijuana remained steady among 8th graders at 6.5 percent, 10th graders at 16.6 percent and 12th graders at 21.2 percent….Daily use of marijuana is up only slightly among 10th and 12th graders, compared to 2009….”We expected a continued increase [of youth use for illicit drugs] into 2012 and later years, in part because of the ongoing trend toward increased use and in part because of the movement by some states to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Publicity around legalizing medical, and in some cases recreational, use may serve to normalize use of marijuana, the most widely used of all illicit substances. However, this anticipated rise has yet to pick up momentum, and in 2014 illicit drug use actually showed non-significant declines in all three grades for lifetime, annual, and 30-day use. (p. 11 at: Kids Colorado and Washington’s Healthy Youth Survey show marijuana use has remained steady among youth in those states post-legalization.
  • Researchers Allege Increase in Youth Marijuana Use Following Decrim Law
    February 17, 2015 – Having failed to find evidence that Prop 215 increased teen MJ use in CA, researchers are now alleging an increase in youth marijuana use following adoption of CA’s decriminalization bill in 2011. Unfortunately, the CA AG stopped conducting its biennial surveys of student drug use, so it’s difficult to confirm these figures. Researchers are looking to update the data with 2014 figures.
  • Regular Marijuana Use Bad for Teens’ Brains
    Frequent marijuana use can have a significant negative effect on the brains of teenagers and young adults, including cognitive decline, poor attention and memory, and decreased IQ, according to psychologists discussing public health implications of marijuana legalization at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention. Some research has shown that frequent use of high potency THC can increase risk of acute and future problems with depression, anxiety and psychosis.
  • Medical Marijuana Laws Don’t Increase Adolescent Use, Study Says
    July 12, 2013 – Medical marijuana laws have no effect on the likelihood a young person will smoke pot, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study supports “a growing body of literature” on the subject.
    Jan 30, 2009 — The newly released biennial Attorney General’s Survey of Student Drug Use in California shows that marijuana use among 7th. 9th and 11th graders remained stable during 2007-8, but reports an “alarming rate” of prescription drug abuse. (The AG has ceased producing this report.)
    Use of marijuana by California students has declined since passage of Proposition 215. Biennial surveys of student drug use released by the state Attorney General’s office show that marijuana use peaked around 1996, the same year Prop. 215 was approved, and declined continually in subsequent years through 2004.
  • NORML Statement to UN NGO Consultation on Narcotic Drugs Vancouver, Feb 4th-5th, 2008
    Sources of good information about youth and drugs:From Chocolate to Morphine by Andrew Weil and Winifred Rosen and Safety First by Marsha Rosenbaum