Youth in the United States are using cannabis more and losing interest in alcohol, new study finds

The expansion of legal weed in the U.S. has made the substance easier for kids and teens to access while boosting the perception that it's safe, researchers say.

click to enlarge Starting in 2014, kids and teens began abusing cannabis more often than alcohol, according to a national analysis. - Unsplash / Elsa Olofsson
Unsplash / Elsa Olofsson
Starting in 2014, kids and teens began abusing cannabis more often than alcohol, according to a national analysis.
Young folks are pouring out the alcohol and stocking up on edibles, a new study suggests.

From 2000 to 2020, cannabis use by U.S. adolescents has jumped 245%, while alcohol use has steadily dwindled over the same period, Neuroscience News reports on the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Toxicology.

The study's findings are based on data about intentional misuse and abuse among children ages 6 to 18 reported to the National Poison Data System.

Every year of the study until 2013, the number of alcohol abuse cases exceeded  the number of pot cases, one of the study's authors, Dr. Adrienne Hughes, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, told Neuroscience News. However, the reverse became true from 2014 on.

“Since 2014, marijuana exposure cases have exceeded ethanol cases every year, and by a greater amount each year than the prior,” Hughes told the news site. 

While a growing number of U.S. states have legalized recreational cannabis for adults, it's still off limits to minors. Even so, that change has made the substance easier for kids and teens to access while boosting the perception that it's safe to consume, according to the study's authors.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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