A woman smokes marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year’s Eve party at a bar in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
A new study from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work identified an interesting trend in marijuana usage and disapproval of the drug among young adults.
The study — which was published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse — collected data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2013. According to a press release issued on Monday, responses were aggregated from 105,903 younger adolescents (ages 12 to 14); 110,949 older adolescents (ages 15-17); and 221,976 young adults (ages 18-25).
Among adults aged 18 to 25, the study identified a downward disapproval rating — from 41% to 23% — with only a marginal 2% spike in marijuana usage.
“What explains this?” asks Christopher Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT-Austin and lead author of the study.
“It is hard to know,” he says. “[But] the rise of medical marijuana, the relaxing of marijuana use laws and increased exposure of marijuana as perhaps normative – as well as no longer immoral – may be influencing how young adults feel about others using marijuana, but not impacting beliefs about one’s own use of marijuana.”
Zachary Pion, an alumnus from the University of Vermont, says he agrees with Salas-Wright’s claim.
“I would say I’ve always had a strong opposition to marijuana usage, but seeing it so freely in my college experience, I became far less sensitized to its usage very quickly, even though it did not impact my own decision to not use the substance,” Pion says.
Salas-Wright says he was interested in understanding substance usage among young people, and, in turn, how to prevent substance abuse.
In addition, given the recent trend of marijuana legalization, researchers wanted to see if these policy changes had an impact on usage and beliefs surrounding the drug.
“Our results may suggest that recent changes in public policy, including the decriminalization, medicalization and legalization of marijuana in cities and states across the country, have not resulted in more use or greater approval of marijuana use among younger adolescents,” Salas-Wright says.
Some students say they agree with the findings shown.
“Younger age groups are less likely to approve of marijuana because …Read More