The results of a survey of 275,000 young people ages 12 – 21 that was released on May 18th showed that they are choosing marijuana as their preferred substance over alcohol and cigarettes. Researchers found that in 2014, 8.8 percent reported that pot was the first drug they ever used, double the number of only 4.8 percent in 2004. From those they surveyed who used marijuana first, were more likely to be older and Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, multiracial or Hispanic. In recent years, and possibly associated with legalization, youth have been increasingly likely to use marijuana as their first drug which may increase the chance for cannabis use disorder (CUD).
In another article published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence showed a Rand Corporation study that showed that adolescents who view more advertising for medical marijuana are more likely to use, express intentions to use and have a more positive expectation about the substance. The study followed over 6500 teens from 2010 – 2017 from 16 middle schools in California. The study showed
Adolescents who reported greater exposure to medical marijuana advertising were more likely to report having used marijuana over the previous 30 days and were more likely to report that they expected to use marijuana during the next six months. Viewing more medical marijuana advertising also was associated with having more-positive views about the drug, such as agreeing that marijuana relaxes a person and helps a person get away from their problems.
Youth who were exposed to more medical marijuana advertising also were more likely to report negative consequences because of marijuana. This included missing school, having trouble concentrating on tasks, doing something they felt sorry for later or having gotten into trouble at school or home.
I visited the youth facility of a local treatment organization and they told me that 85% of their current patient met the clinical standard for CUD. I believe that there are acceptable medical uses but this is still and addictive drug and more time and study would be wise before making its recreational use legal.