The development of legal cannabis is associated with lower teen use and higher adult use. But many scientists, hesitant to give up a lifetime of prohibition, spin their data to emphasize danger.

One study from 2017 had shown that attending college is a risk factor for trying cannabis, and suggested that political acceptance of cannabis is promoting use among college students. But this interpretation was taken to task by a scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. The total levels of cannabis use have not changed much since 2000. The increase in college cannabis initiation is matched by a decrease in the number of high school students trying cannabis for the first time. In other words, college may now be a risk factor for trying marijuana because of a successful public health effort to reduce use among high schoolers. They simply wait a few years longer before trying cannabis for the first time. As the commentary points out, Given that later initiation is associated with decreased risk for drug-related problems, there may even be a case for cautious optimism.

Read study: Changing Demographics of Marijuana Initiation: Bad News or Good?

Adrian Devitt-Lee is a research scientist and longtime Project CBD contributor. © Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.

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