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The “real” number of Washington State adolescents using marijuana, and why: A misclassification analysis

10/26/18--Approximately 12% of Washington adolescents claimed to have used marijuana in the past 30 days. Estimates indicate this figure is likely closer to 18%. Determinants of use included use of other substances, gender, age, and measures of deviant social influences, personality/attitude, school and family bonds, bullying, and acquisition ease, while determinants of misreporting included use of other substances, gender, parental education, and family bonds. Failing to control for misreporting considerably underestimates the prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents. Read

We asked Florida candidates if they’ve smoked marijuana. Here’s what they said.

10/12/18--The Times asked all candidates for statewide office if they have ever smoked marijuana, and if their experiences with the drug have influenced their views on marijuana policy. Four of the 12 candidates acknowledged prior marijuana use. Five candidates said they have never smoked, and three wouldn't respond. Read

Teens who’ve tried marijuana have used it in more than one form

9/28/18--Most teens who've tried marijuana have used the drug in more than one form, including products that are smoked, eaten, or vaped, new USC research shows. The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, raises concerns about adolescent health amid a booming marijuana market that touts sleekly packaged products claiming an array of health benefits. Read

Marijuana use among young adults is at an all-time high, study finds

9/11/18--The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released the results of its latest study, which examined trends on substance use among non-college and college young adults. More than 13 percent of young adults not in college reported using marijuana daily or near daily, which is the highest level ever among the group. As a result, NIDA said daily marijuana use is now three times as high among non-college young adults as among college students. Read

Report warns of ‘serious risk’ to Peace Corps from drug use by volunteers

8/24/18--The Peace Corps has a drug problem related to an increasingly outdated view of marijuana, but significant enough to the agency’s Office of Inspector General that it warns of a “serious risk to the integrity and reputation of the Peace Corps as well as the health and safety of Volunteers.” Read

Relationships between state laws legalizing marijuana for medical use and college students’ use of marijuana/other drugs

8/28/18--A study published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice examined the relationship between medicalized marijuana laws and student utilization rates, perceptions, and experiences. Participants were students in 37 states attending institutions of higher education. Students who went to college in states that legalized marijuana for medical use were more likely to use marijuana and experience academic and health consequences than their counterparts who did not. Read

Snapshot: About one in four young adults use marijuana

8/15/18--While 13 percent of Americans say they "regularly" or "occasionally" use or smoke marijuana, the rate is significantly higher among young adults ages 18 to 29 and is higher in the West than in other regions of the country. Marijuana is most popular among young adults -- about one in four (24 percent) adults in this age group report regularly or occasionally using it. This is on par with an average 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds across three surveys from 2015 to 2017 who answered "yes" when asked whether they do, or do not, "smoke marijuana." Read

Teens who vape or use hookah are more likely to use marijuana later, study finds

8/6/18--Teens who used e-cigarettes and hookah were up to four times more likely to use marijuana later, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that the students who had tried e-cigarettes when they were freshmen had a more than three-fold greater likelihood of ever using marijuana and using marijuana in the past 30 days than students who hadn't tried e-cigs. Read

Adolescent e-cigarette, hookah, and conventional cigarette use and subsequent marijuana use

8/6/18--A study examining whether adolescent electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), hookah, or combustible cigarette use is associated with initiating and currently using marijuana as well as using both tobacco and marijuana concurrently concludes that the association between tobacco use and subsequent marijuana use across adolescence extends to multiple tobacco products. Read

Today’s heroin epidemic infographics

7/7/18--Today's infographics, as presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that more people are at risk given multiple drugs abused. More specifically, heroin use has increased among most demographic groups. Furthermore, heroin addiction and overdose deaths are climbing. Read

Health, polysubstance use, and criminal justice involvement among adults with opioid use

7/6/18--In this cross-sectional analysis, individuals who reported any level of opioid use were more likely than individuals who reported no opioid use to have physical and mental health conditions and co-occurring substance use. Involvement in the criminal justice system increased with intensity of opioid use, and any level of opioid use was significantly associated with involvement in the criminal justice system in the past year. Read

UMass researchers contribute to key statewide marijuana study

7/5/18--In an attempt to understand cannabis use in the state before recreational marijuana sales soon begin, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a “marijuana baseline health study.”  The study — an effort conducted in no small part by University of Massachusetts researchers — provides a snapshot of patterns of and perceptions of marijuana use, the prevalence of hospitalizations and impaired driving, and the economic impacts of cannabis for state and local government. Read

Legalized medical marijuana doesn’t cause more teens to smoke weed, study finds

3/5/18--According to a study out of Columbia University, teen usage of cannabis neither increased nor decreased after states legalized pot use for medical problems. The study was an analytical examination of four separate national surveys with data from eleven separate studies dating back to 1991. Still, the researchers want to study adult cannabis use next, pointing to the possibility that while connections to teen abuse appear unlikely, there may be a link to people becoming more dependent on the drug in adulthood. Read

National marijuana survey plan announced by Massachusetts consultant and UMass-Dartmouth

6/29/18--The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network of Somerville said it will work with the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth to mount a national survey of marijuana use. "The survey is aimed to better understand consumer/patient demographics, attitudes, choices, methods of consumption, and knowledge of cannabis products in legal cannabis states," a press release said. The plan for the survey was approved by the institutional review board of UMass-Dartmouth, and findings are to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and provided at conferences and forums. Read

One in five Mass. adults consumed pot in past month

6/29/18--A new study released by health researchers provides a snapshot of cannabis use as the state of Massachusetts gears up for the start of recreational marijuana sales. The study, led by the state Department of Public Health, found that 21 percent of adult residents surveyed had used marijuana in the past 30 days. Young people, however, are using the drug at much higher rates: More than 50 percent of those aged 18 to 25 consumed cannabis within the past 30 days, compared with just 18 percent of those 26 and older, according to the research. Read

Experts challenge claims about medical marijuana’s impact on teen recreational use and opioid deaths

2/22/18--Two papers published today look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude there is little support that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents or reduce opioid overdose deaths. Read

Surveys state of Colorado relies on for youth marijuana use are flawed, critics say

12/22/17--Inconsistencies that exist in studies has made it difficult to precisely pinpoint just how marijuana is impacting the schools, and information is misleading because so little of it actually exists. According to state officials, part the problem is how the data is reported. Furthermore, critics believe data sources, including the state’s biennial Healthy Kids Colorado survey, and Monitoring the Future in the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics are flawed. Read

Gogek: Marijuana not the answer to opioids

12/18/17--According to Dr. Ed Gogek, a psychiatrist specializing in substance abuse, the marijuana industry wants us to believe pot can solve the opioid crisis, but if that were true opioid-related deaths would have steadily decreased after Arizona’s medical marijuana law took effect in 2011, and they didn’t. Before the law passed, the opioid death rate in Arizona was falling, and after the law kicked in, that changed. Between 2012 and 2016, opioid deaths increased by 74.6 percent. In other words, marijuana is not saving us from the opioid epidemic. Read

NIH’s 2017 Monitoring the Future survey shows both vaping and marijuana are more popular than traditional cigarettes or pain reliever misuse

12/14/17--Findings from the 2017 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th graders in schools nationwide indicates that nearly 1 in 3 students in 12th grade report past year use of some kind of vaping device, raising concerns about the impact on their health. The survey also suggests that use of hookahs and regular cigarettes is declining. Read

Teen drug use reaches a 43-year low, with the exception of marijuana

12/15/17--Teens today are using fewer drugs than the age group has used over the the past 43 years, with the exception of marijuana. A recent University of Michigan study found that one in 10 high school seniors say they’ve vaped marijuana in the past year. Richard Miech, the researcher in charge of the study, said the number of teens that are vaping the drug is much higher than he expected. Read

Teen marijuana use down in most legalized states, federal data says

12/11/17--According to new data from the federally-funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published in the American Journal of Public Health, annual teen cannabis use is down across the U.S. as a whole, but the drop was less significant than that experienced in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana. Read  

Recreational drug users not what we think

12/7/17--A study lead by David Plummer, a professor from James Cook University in Queensland, investigates why Australians are among the top users of illegal drugs in the world. New facts have been revealed about the motivations of recreational drug users. Research shows almost 40% of Australians aged 15 years and over have used one or more illicit drugs at some stage in their life, and approximately 17% within the past 12 months. Read

After eight years of decline, overdose mortality among teens is increasing

11/13/17--Between 1999 and 2007, the mortality rate from drug overdose more than doubled among 15-19- year-olds. Then, for reasons not well-understood, the mortality rate declined by 26% by 2014, but primarily among males. Since then, mortality from overdose has increased dramatically, especially among adolescents using opioids, especially heroin. Further analysis of these data reveals that 21.9% of the fatalities among 15-19- year-old females were due to suicide, compared to only 8.7% for males. Read

In the age of legalization, talking to kids about marijuana gets tougher

11/10/17--The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in California and other states makes things harder for youth-oriented drug education and prevention programs. Teachers are trying to explain the risks of marijuana just as stores are preparing to open and marketers are planning campaigns. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for more than 20 years, but experts say the new law on recreational marijuana could prompt more youths to believe that the drug is safe. Read

In the age of legalization, talking to kids about marijuana gets tougher

11/10/17--The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in California and other states makes things harder for youth-oriented drug education and prevention programs. Teachers are trying to explain the risks of marijuana just as stores are preparing to open and marketers are planning campaigns. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for more than 20 years, but experts say the new law on recreational marijuana could prompt more youths to believe that the drug is safe. Read

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

10/25/17--In recent years, teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs, according to researchersat Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Teens also are less likely to engage in behaviors like fighting and stealing, and the researchers believe the declines in substance use and delinquency are connected. The drop in substance abuse among teens parallels findings in other recent surveys, but until now no one has looked at how the drop-off may be linked to other behavioral issues. Read

Study: Rise in marijuana use not caused by legalization

9/14/17--According to a study published in the online version of the journal Addiction, marijuana use is sharply rising in the United States, but the trend is not the result of the growing number of state laws that allow legal use of recreational or medical marijuana. Instead, the rise in cannabis use was “primarily explained by period effects,” meaning societal factors that affect populations across age and generational groups. The authors identify a decreasing disapproval of marijuana use as one such factor potentially at play they are clear that the rise in use was not caused by changes to marijuana laws. Read

Marijuana legalization has NOT led to more drug or alcohol abuse among young people

9/16/17--Liberalized marijuana laws appear to have little positive or negative impact, according to a new working paper by researchers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Harvard University, and Western Carolina University. In fact, more liberal marijuana laws have had “minimal impact” on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption or crime rates, the study found. Read

Here’s one marijuana trend you should actually be worried about

9/11/17--The latest federal survey data shows that while teen marijuana use continues to decline in the era of legal pot, adult use is rising. The percent of people over the age of 18 who smoke it in a given year has risen from 10.4 percent in 2002 to 14.1 percent in 2016. In other words, 46 million people got high last year. While public health researchers say daily marijuana use is probably inherently moderate and nothing to be concerned about, they do worry that much of it is a result of problematic use — drug dependency. Read

Seniors becoming fastest growing marijuana users

8/9/17--Seniors are becoming the fastest growing segment of the marijuana industry. According to a national survey, usage among adults 65 and older is up 250 percent, while adults 50-65 have also increased usage nearly 58 percent. Read

Survey reveals how many Americans have tried marijuana

7/22/17--According to a new survey by Gallup, more than 40 percent of Americans have tried using marijuana at some point in their lives, the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup and a remarkable increase from when Gallup first asked respondents about marijuana, in 1969. Read

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

7/17/17--A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence. Read

Should parents lie about smoking pot?

7/7/17--Frank Pegueros, president and CEO of the anti-substance abuse program D.A.R.E, says parents should be truthful with their children when talking about our past substance use. "Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for," says Pegueros. "It's better to be truthful since they can usually see right through a lie. I've found not being truthful makes life more complicated." Read

Mostly young, well-educated men are ordering marijuana delivery

6/27/17--Eaze, the San Francisco-based marijuana delivery startup, recently conducted a survey of its customers to get a better idea of their backgrounds and habits. The report showed that a majority of the service's users are male (66%) and relatively young, with 57% of respondents falling into the "millennial" category between the ages of 22 and 34. The reports also indicates that a majority of Eaze customers are also well-educated and well-paid. Read

Today’s marijuana user is likely a woman — & maybe a mom

6/27/17--It turns out that the modern marijuana user is likely to be a woman — and maybe even a parent. A new survey from Eaze, a cannabis technology company that facilitates delivery of medical marijuana, found that they are highly educated, employed, and financially well-off. They're also overwhelmingly millennials. A higher number of women than men reported using cannabis daily, and one in five marijuana users in their survey were parents — with 63% of those parents reporting using cannabis on a daily basis. Read

Cannabis experts produce ‘High’-way Code of 10 tips to help reduce health risks

6/27/17--A new review conducted by some of the world’s leading experts on cannabis provides 10 tips on how to reduce the potential harm of using cannabis. The latest scientific evidence was used to draw up the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) recognizing the lack of research-based advice for the millions of people who use cannabis. Read

Legal cannabis laws impact teen use

6/27/17--A new study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. Read

The surprising effect of marijuana legalization on college students

6/16/17--A new study in the journal Addiction finds that, after legalization, the use of marijuana among students at an Oregon college increased relative to that of students in states where the drug is still illegal. But, the rise was mainly seen among those students who had also reported drinking heavily recently. The Oregon students who binge drank were 73 percent more likely to also report using marijuana, compared to binge-drinking students in states that didn’t legalize marijuana. Read

Marijuana use among college students on rise following Oregon legalization, study finds

6/14/17--Oregon State University researchers compared marijuana usage among college students before and after legalization and found that usage increased at several colleges and universities across the nation, but it increased more at Oregon State University. None of the universities were identified in the study. Read

Drug use by state: 2017’s problem areas

5/15/17--This report attempts to answer questions about where drug abuse is most pronounced and which areas are most at risk in the current political climate by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and meth-lab incidents per capita. Read

US Adult Illicit Cannabis Use, Cannabis Use Disorder, and Medical Marijuana Laws

6/1/17--In a JAMA Psychiatry published analysis using US national survey data collected in 1991-1992, 2001-2002, and 2012-2013 from 118 497 participants, the risk for cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a significantly greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in states that did not. Read

Why pot-smoking declines, but doesn’t end, with parenthood

6/1/17--According to a study by the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group (SDRG), adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents but they don't necessarily quit. The UW research found that, in general, a greater percentage of nonparents reported using marijuana in the past year than parents. The study also found that participants who started using marijuana as young adults were much more likely to continue to use into their mid- to late 30s, even after they became parents. Read

Protect youth from marijuana

5/26/17--In a published letter to the Times-Herald, Vallejo Community Change Coalition Coordinator Dante De La Cerna expresses that, as a community, diligent efforts must be taken to protect youth from marijuana and related harms. Apparently, Vallejo youth say it’s easy to get marijuana, so strong marijuana regulations are important to limit youth access while protecting the health, safety, and quality of life of all Vallejo residents. Read  

Debate brews over Children’s Hospital Colorado marijuana study

5/24/17--The debate over whether more teens are getting high since marijuana legalization is heating up after the release of a study from Children’s Hospital Colorado. The study found marijuana is in more teens that are examined in the emergency room of Children’s Hospital and its affiliated urgent care centers across the metro area. Even though the data shows a spike, legalization supporters warn the study does not prove anything about an increased harm for teens. Read

Higher illicit pot use in states that OK medical marijuana

4/26/17--A new U.S. study reports that illicit pot use increased significantly more in states that passed medical marijuana laws compared to other states. States with medical marijuana laws also saw an increase in people who can't stop using pot even though it's interfering with many aspects of their lives, researchers said. Read

Illegal pot use is rising in states that have legalized medical marijuana

4/26/17--According to a new study led by Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City, illegal marijuana use has risen faster, in recent years, in states that have legalized medical marijuana than in states without such laws. In addition, the percentage of people with "marijuana use disorders" — people who use the drug in unhealthy ways, or abuse it — has also increased at a higher rate in these states. Read

Pot smoking common among pregnant teens

4/18/17--A large national survey found that more than twice as many pregnant 12- to 17-year-olds use marijuana as their non-pregnant peers. Evidence regarding pot’s effects on the developing fetus is limited, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women stop using the drug. Read

Marijuana use in pregnant teens ‘worryingly’ high

4/20/17--New data show high rates of marijuana use among pregnant teenagers in the United States, especially in the first trimester. According to lead investigator Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the study adds important new details to the existing literature. Almost 4% of pregnant women reported marijuana use in the past month. This rate is a little over half the rate found among their non-pregnant counterparts. Read

Drug and alcohol use in schools

4/11/17--According to a survey conducted by the Ashtabula County Mental Health Board, it is common to find drugs and alcohol use in high school. In November 2015, the board surveyed 1,309 students in seventh, eighth, and 10th grades from all seven local school districts in Ashtabula County. While more than half of all students said at least one of their parents had talked to them during the past 12 months about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use, 31 percent admitted to drinking in the last month, 41 percent said they used pot, and 30 percent had taken pain pills without a prescription. Read

Marijuana use declines among 10th-graders

3/26/17--Marijuana use has declined among Kitsap County 10th-graders since the drug was legalized for adult recreational use in Washington, results of the state Healthy Youth Survey show. Fifteen percent of high school sophomores surveyed in 2016 reported having used marijuana in the previous month. This reported percentage is down from the 20 percent who reported marijuana use in 2014 and 2012. Read

Student marijuana survey gives cause for hope

3/20/17--The latest state data on underage marijuana use offers encouragement. Washington health officials last week released results of the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey, compiled from responses given by 230,000 students in all 39 counties last fall. The survey of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders indicates that overall drug use rates have held steady since the last survey in 2014, and that most teens know better than to mess with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and other substances. Read

How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain?

2/6/17--According to study authors Staci A. Gruber and Kelly A. Sagar of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may believe that it's safe to experiment with the drug. Gruber and Sagar believe it is imperative to determine safe guidelines regarding its impact on the brain, particularly during critical periods of neurodevelopment. Read

More older Americans using cannabis, underscoring need for research

1/11/17--Cannabis use among older adults in the US is on the rise, yet there is currently a lack of biomedical, clinical, and public health research to inform policy related to this trend, according to a new article. Read

NSDUH breaks down last year’s national marijuana usage

1/9/17--The latest data presented by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that states with recreational and medical legalization have higher rates of cannabis use, while states without legislation do not. While some aspects of the data may not be surprising, it does provide insight into what a difference a state line can make. Read

CDC: High use of marijuana among 10th graders

1/2/2017--A new CDC report shows a high use of marijuana among high schoolers. 18-percent of 10th graders use marijuana in Washington - one of many states where the drug is legalized for recreational use. The CDC says marijuana use among young adults can impair brain development, lower intelligence, and academic retention as well as several other mental health effects. Read

Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?

12/29/16--Marijuana use increased, and the drug's perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults, but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study. Read

No change in Colorado teens’ marijuana use before and after legalization, study finds

12/28/16--Recreational marijuana legalization had no impact on how many Colorado teens use pot or on whether they think it is dangerous, but that could be because years of medical marijuana sales already had brought about changes in those measures, according to a new study posted on the website of the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Read

Study: Teen marijuana use up after being legalized in Washington

12/27/16--According to a new study by UC Davis, marijuana use increased and the perceived harms associated with marijuana decreased for adolescents in Washington state, where marijuana is legal for recreational use. The study shows adolescents in Washington state in eighth grade and 10th grade have fewer concerns associated with using marijuana since it became legalized. The study also shows those same age groups increased their use of marijuana after recreational legalization. Read

Survey: Marijuana use up, alcohol consumption down among Arizona teens

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-16-27-pm12/20/16--Marijuana use is up among Arizona teenagers and about one in five high school seniors said they had driven under the influence of marijuana in the previous 30 days, according to survey results released by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. Prescription pain reliever use also is on the rise, but alcohol use has dropped according to the survey of more than 57,000 students in eighth, 10th, and 12th grades from all 15 counties in Arizona during spring 2016. Read  

Marijuana is harder than ever for younger teens to find

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-8-46-14-pm12/13/16--In 2016, 8th-grade and 10th-grade respondents to the large Monitoring the Future survey gave the lowest-ever indication that marijuana was easy to get if they wanted it, a question posed to the groups every year since 1992. Only 34.6 percent of 8th-grade students said it would be easy to get marijuana, down 2.4 percentage points. Of 10th graders, 64 percent said it would be easy to get, also the lowest rate ever. Read