Young People and Drugs

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Page last updated June 10, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

81. Teen Marijuana Use in Medical Marijuana States

"Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana and other substances among high school students. In fact, estimates from our preferred specifications are consistently negative and are never statistically distinguishable from zero."
"There is little evidence that marijuana use is related to the legalization of medical marijuana in either of these data sources [*], a result that is consistent with research showing that marijuana use among adults is more sensitive to changes in policy than marijuana use among youths (Farrelly et al. 1999; Williams 2004)."
[*] data sources are the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) and the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)

Anderson, D. Mark; Hansen, Benjamin; and Rees, Daniel I, "Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use," Social Science Research Network (May 2012), pp. 18-19.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/De...

82. Adverse Effects of Substance Use on Academic Performance

"In the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, cannabis use appears to have increased the risk of discontinuing a high school education, and of experiencing job instability in young adulthood (Newcombe and Bentler, 1988). The apparent strength of these relationships in cross-sectional studies (e.g. Kandel, 1984) has been exaggerated because those adolescents who are most likely to use cannabis have lower academic aspirations and poorer high school performance prior to using cannabis than their peers who do not (Newcombe and Bentler, 1988). It remains possible that factors other than the marijuana use account for apparent causal relations. To the extent they may exist, these adverse effects of cannabis and other drug use upon development over and above the effect of pre-existing nonconformity may cascade throughout young adult life, affecting choice of occupation, level of income, choice of mate, and the quality of life of the user and his or her children."

Hall, W., Room, R., & Bondy, S., WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use: A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use August 28, 1995 (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1998).
http://www.druglibrary.net/sch...

83. Effect of Marijuana Use by Adolescents on Cognition and IQ Development

"In line with previous work, we found that cannabis users had lower teenage IQ scores and poorer educational performance than teenagers who had never used cannabis. At the same time, cannabis users also had higher rates of childhood behavioural problems, childhood depressive symptoms, other substance use (including use of cigarettes and alcohol) and maternal use of cannabis during pregnancy. After adjustment to account for these group differences, cannabis use by the age of 15 did not predict either lower teenage IQ scores or poorer educational performance. These findings therefore suggest that cannabis use at the modest levels used by this sample of teenagers is not by itself causally related to cognitive impairment. Instead, our findings imply that previously reported associations between adolescent cannabis use and poorer intellectual and educational outcomes may be confounded to a significant degree by related factors."

C Mokrysz, R Landy, SH Gage, MR Munafò, JP Roiser, and HV Curran, "Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study," Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881115622241, first published on January 6, 2016 doi:10.1177/0269881115622241
http://jop.sagepub.com...
http://jop.sagepub.com...

84. Effect of Marijuana Use by Adolescents on Cognition and IQ

"In summary, the notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenage sample. However, this study indeed has limitations, in particular the young age of outcome assessment. While we have demonstrated that confounding may be an explanation for links between cannabis use and poorer outcomes, large prospective cohorts tracking young people prior to, during and after stopping cannabis use, using more objective measures of drug use (e.g. the new NIH-funded ‘ABCD study’ in the United States; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015) are required before we can make strong conclusions. Cigarette smoking in particular has once again (Hooper et al., 2014; McCaffrey et al., 2010; Silins et al., 2014; Stiby et al., 2014) been highlighted as an important factor in adolescent outcomes, as well as a robust independent predictor of educational performance, and the reasons for this need to be elucidated."

C Mokrysz, R Landy, SH Gage, MR Munafò, JP Roiser, and HV Curran, "Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study," Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881115622241, first published on January 6, 2016 doi:10.1177/0269881115622241
http://jop.sagepub.com...
http://jop.sagepub.com...

85. Effect of Cannabis Use and Nicotine Use by Adolescents on Cognition and IQ

"Compared with those in our sample who had never tried cannabis, teenagers who had used cannabis at least 50 times were 17 times more likely (84% vs. 5%) to have smoked cigarettes more than 20 times in their lifetime. Accounting for group differences in cigarette smoking dramatically attenuated the associations between cannabis use and both IQ and educational performance. Further, even after excluding those who had never tried cannabis, cigarette users were found to have lower educational performance (adjusted performance 2.9 percentage points lower, approximately equivalent to dropping two grades on one subject taken at GCSE) relative to those who had never tried cigarettes. A relationship between cigarette use and poorer cognitive (Chamberlain et al., 2012; Hooper et al., 2014; Weiser et al., 2010; Whalley et al., 2005) and educational (McCaffrey et al., 2010; Silins et al., 2014; Stiby et al., 2014) outcomes has been noted previously, and may have a number of explanations. Cigarette use may have a negative impact on cognitive ability. However, this is not supported by the experimental psychopharmacology literature, which robustly shows that acute nicotine administration results in transient cognitive enhancement (Heishman et al., 2010). Alternatively, reverse causality may contribute to this relationship, for example performing poorly at school may lead to increased engagement in risky behaviours such as cigarette smoking. Further, residual confounding may contribute to this link: cigarette smoking may be a marker of unmeasured factors, for example social adversity during adolescence, that influence both IQ and educational attainment."

C Mokrysz, R Landy, SH Gage, MR Munafò, JP Roiser, and HV Curran, "Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study," Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881115622241, first published on January 6, 2016 doi:10.1177/0269881115622241
http://jop.sagepub.com...
http://jop.sagepub.com...

86. IQ Decline Among Adolescent-Onset Marijuana Users

"In the present study, the most persistent adolescent-onset cannabis users evidenced an average 8-point IQ decline from childhood to adulthood. Quitting, however, may have beneficial effects, preventing additional impairment for adolescent-onset users. Prevention and policy efforts should focus on delivering to the public the message that cannabis use during adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning, delaying the onset of cannabis use at least until adulthood, and encouraging cessation of cannabis use particularly for those who began using cannabis in adolescence."

Madeline H. Meier, Avshalom Caspi, Antony Ambler, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richard S. E. Keefe, Kay McDonald, Aimee Ward, Richie Poulton, and Terrie E. Moffitt, "Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, p. 6.
www.pnas.org...

87. Cognitive Deficit Among Adolescent-Onset Marijuana Users

"Our findings suggest that regular cannabis use before age 18 y predicts impairment, but others have found effects only for younger ages (10, 15). Given that the brain undergoes dynamic changes from the onset of puberty through early adulthood (37, 38), this developmental period should be the focus of future research on the age(s) at which harm occurs."

Madeline H. Meier, Avshalom Caspi, Antony Ambler, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richard S. E. Keefe, Kay McDonald, Aimee Ward, Richie Poulton, and Terrie E. Moffitt, "Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, p. 1.
http://www.pnas.org...

88. Early Use of Marijuana

"The younger and more often teens use marijuana, the more likely they are to engage in other substance use and the higher their risk of developing a substance use disorder. Among high school students, 7.5 percent used marijuana for the first time before the age of 13. CASA’s analysis of national data finds that the average age of initiation of marijuana use among high school students is 14.3 years old. Compared to those who began using marijuana after age 21, those who first used it before age 15 are:
• More likely to have ever smoked a cigarette (93.3 percent vs. 86.4 percent);
• More than twice as likely to have ever misused controlled prescription drugs (56.5 percent vs. 22.9 percent); and
• Two and a half times as likely to have ever used other illicit drugs (70.2 percent vs. 27.8 percent)."

"Adolescent Substance Abuse: America's #1 Public Health Problem," National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, June 2011, p. 27.
http://www.casacolumbia.org...

89. Prevalence and Perceived Risk From Marijuana Use Among Young People in the US

"Annual marijuana prevalence peaked among 12th graders in 1979 at 51%, following a rise that began during the 1960s. Then use declined fairly steadily for 13 years, bottoming at 22% in 1992—a decline of more than half. The 1990s, however, saw a resurgence of use. After a considerable increase (one that actually began among 8th graders a year earlier than among 10th and 12th graders), annual prevalence rates peaked in 1996 at 8th grade and in 1997 at 10th and 12th grades. After these peak years, use declined among all three grades through 2007 or 2008. After these declines, an upturn occurred in use in all three grades, lasting for three years in the lower grades and longer in grade 12. Annual marijuana prevalence among 8th graders increased in use from 2007 to 2010, decreased slightly from 2010 to 2012, and then declined significantly in 2016. Among 10th graders, use increased somewhat from 2008 to 2013 and then declined after that. Among 12th graders, use increased from 2006 to 2011 and then held level through 2016. As shown in Table 8, daily use increased in all three grades after 2007, reaching peaks in 2011 (at 1.3% in 8th), 2013 (at 4.0% in 10th), and 2011 (at 6.6% in 12th), before declining slightly since. Daily prevalence rates in 2016 were 0.7%, 2.5%, and 6.0%, respectively, with one in seventeen 12th graders smoking daily."

Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Miech, R. A., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2017). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2016: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 11.
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

90. Marijuana Use vs. Tobacco Use

"High school students are more likely to use marijuana than to smoke cigarettes. High school students are:
"• More likely to have tried marijuana than tobacco (24 percent vs. 15 percent); and
"• More likely to say their close friends use marijuana than smoke cigarettes (51 percent vs. 39 percent)."

QEV Analytics, LTD., "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens," The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, August 2012), p. 30.
http://www.casacolumbia.org...

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