According to a brand new study, teenage marijuana use in the U.S. is dropping. And it’s not just the total number of teens who consume cannabis that’s falling. The report also found that adolescents in the U.S. are having fewer marijuana-related behavioral problems as well.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have recently published their report in the journal Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
The study looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health during the years 2002 to 2013. More than 216,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 responded to the survey during those years.
After looking at the numbers the researchers discovered a couple key trends.
In 2002, a little over 16 percent of teenage marijuana use. In 2013, that number dropped to below 14 percent.
Similarly, the number of adolescents who had cannabis use disorders dropped from around 4 percent down to 3 percent.
Between 2002 and 2013, the number of teens who said they had serious behavior problems such as getting into fights, shoplifting, bringing weapons to school, or selling drugs also fell.
Researchers working on the study said these numbers could point to a number of conclusions.
“We were surprised to see substantial declines in marijuana use and abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Richard A. Grucza.
“We don’t know how legalization is affecting young marijuana users, but it could be that many kids with behavioral problems are more likely to get treatment earlier in childhood, making them less likely to turn to pot during adolescence.”
“But whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization.”
The trends identified by this new study are in line with previous findings.
The 2015 Monitoring the Future surveys found that while more adults are using cannabis, the number of teens who consume weed has dropped since 2010.
For many advocates of cannabis legalization, these studies are good news. Many see these types of stats as evidence that legalization does not have a negative effect on young people.
This most recent study isn’t the first time Grucza has been involved with cannabis research.
Back in February, he published another study that refuted the claim that there is a rising number of people with marijuana use disorders.
In fact, his study found that the ratio of teenage marijuana use disorders has actually been declining in recent years.