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As more states legalize marijuana, adolescents' problems with pot decline

News Posted May 23 2016

Marijuana opponents tend to preach that legalizing marijuana means more teenagers are going to use and abuse the drug, but unfortunately for them the data says otherwise. In a study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine, 216,000 students from all 50 states were surveyed to show that from 2002 to 2013, teenagers with marijuana-related problems are declining. Even with cities and entire states decriminalizing, or legalizing medically/recreationally, significantly less teenagers are struggling with issues related to marijuana. Researchers found a link between problem behaviors (fighting, proporty crime, selling drugs) and later marijuana abuse, but it seems that now children are more likely to be treated for behavioral problems early on, removing the increased likelihood of marijuana problems.

Those drops were accompanied by reductions in behavioral problems, including fighting, property crimes and selling drugs. The researchers found that the two trends are connected. As kids became less likely to engage in problem behaviors, they also became less likely to have problems with marijuana.

The study's first author, Richard A. Grucza, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry, explained that those behavioral problems often are signs of childhood psychiatric disorders.

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