Despite cannabis being legal, in some form, in over half the country, and legal for recreational use in eight states, use among adolescents and teens is at a 22-year low, according to a new federal study.
The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health was released this week and the findings are interesting. The survey showed that the number of teens aged 12 to 17 who use marijuana monthly was down substantially from rates in 2014, when Colorado and the state of Washington first opened recreational pot shops.
The data also shows that cannabis use among teens is down to 6.5 percent, its lowest since 1994.
Meanwhile, adult use of marijuana has climbed to its highest in over three decades. Among Americans aged 18 to 25, 20.8 percent use cannabis monthly. 14.5 percent of 26 to 34 year-olds used weed monthly. That’s the highest usage rate in either demographic since 1985, as reported by The Washington Post.
The focus of this survey was on young-ish Americans, but another federal survey from 2014 shows that cannabis use is actually growing fastest among the middle aged. A report from the CDC actually showed that the use of marijuana by jumped up 55 to 64-year-olds increased an insane 455 percent between 2002 and 2014.
The survey also indicates that cannabis may be supplanting alcohol as the intoxicant of choice among adults. As cannabis use increased in adults, alcohol use has actually gone down slightly in the last year, 55 percent in 2016 compared with 56 percent in 2015.
So what is causing this downward trend in cannabis use among the young? Why is it literally more likely for a grandparent to be getting stoned than their teenage grandchild?
Part of it may have to do, counter-intuitively, with legalization. It could be that the more cannabis is available and deemed tolerable by mainstream culture, the less appealing it becomes to teenagers. Or maybe they’re just too busy with their fidget spinners to light a bowl.