A recently released study is trying to answer the question concerning the cause of the escalation in marijuana consumption in the United States. Any statistics concerning marijuana consumption need to be taken lightly as it is unknown whether the increase has more to do with a willingness to admit marijuana use due to the shift in marijuana perception rather than people trying it for the first time.
The study is suggesting that there was a shift in marijuana perception 20 years ago that led to it being more acceptable which could have resulted in more people trying it. So, instead of legalization leading to more cannabis consumption, the acceptance of marijuana lead to more consumption which eventually led to state legalization. That’s logical if you think about it, isn’t it?
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.
That’s the conclusion of a study in the journal Addiction that was published online this week.
“Medical and recreational marijuana policies did not have any significant association with increased marijuana use,” the study found. “Marijuana policy liberalization over the past 20 years has certainly been associated with increased marijuana use; however, policy changes appear to have occurred in response to changing attitudes within states and to have effects on attitudes and behaviors more generally in the U.S.
“Researchers at the Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group analyzed data from periodic National Alcohol Surveys and stacked its results on marijuana use against changes in state laws.
Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have comprehensive legal medical cannabis programs, and eight states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults over 21 years of age.
They found that instead of being caused by policy changes, 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.
But they are clear that the rise in use was not caused by changes to marijuana laws.
“The steep rise in marijuana use in the United States since 2005 occurred across the population and is attributable to general period effects not specifically linked to the liberalization of marijuana policies in some states,” the paper’s abstract says.