Legal Weed is Not Dumbing Down Nation’s Teens
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Legal Weed is Not Dumbing Down Nation’s Teens
Posted by CN Staff on May 30, 2016 at 05:23:14 PT
By Christopher Ingraham
Source: Washington Post
USA -- The marijuana policy landscape changed rapidly between 2002 and 2013. During that time, 13 states passed medical-marijuana laws, 10 states relaxed penalties for marijuana use, and Colorado and Washington became the first states to fully legalize recreational pot use.Opponents of marijuana liberalization warned that these changes would bring devastating consequences, particularly for kids: "But what about the children?" was the common refrain. The president of National Families in Action, an anti-drug group, warned that commercial marijuana would "literally dumb down the precious minds of generations of children." Psychiatrist Christian Thurstone, an outspoken opponent of Colorado's marijuana legalization, argued in 2010 that "the state's relaxed laws have made the drug widely available — and irresistible — to too many adolescents."
Given the widespread liberalization of marijuana laws and huge changes in public acceptance of the drug, you might expect that by now we'd be seeing more marijuana use — and more problematic use, such addiction and dependency — among the nation's teens. But in fact the exact opposite has happened, according to a new study from Richard Grucza and colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.The number of American teens with marijuana-related problems — such as dependency on the drug, or troubles with family and school due to marijuana use — fell by 24 percent between 2002 and 2013. The overall number of teens using marijuana fell, too. And the teens who do use marijuana are less likely to experience problems due to the drug."We were surprised to see substantial declines in marijuana use and abuse," Grucza said in a statement. "Whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization."Grucza and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual federal survey. Their research, forthcoming in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse."The reduction in the past-year prevalence of marijuana use disorders among adolescents took place during a period when 10 U.S. states relaxed criminal sanctions against adult marijuana use and 13 states enacted medical marijuana policies," the study found. "During this period, teenagers also became less likely to perceive marijuana use as risky, and marijuana use became more socially acceptable among young adults."If legalization opponents are to be believed, these are all the ingredients necessary for an explosion in marijuana problems among the nation's teens. So what happened?In looking more closely at the data, Grucza and his colleagues discovered something interesting. They found that the number of adolescents experiencing a broad array of non-drug-related conduct problems — fighting, stealing, arguing with their parents — was declining, too. And so they divided the kids experiencing marijuana-use problems into two groups: those who exhibited marijuana-use disorders alongside other conduct problems and those who had marijuana-use disorders but otherwise experienced no other conduct problems.They found that the decline in marijuana-use disorders was concentrated almost exclusively in the kids dealing with other problems on top of their pot use: "We observed a decline in the proportion of adolescents who both reported conduct problems and met criteria for marijuana use disorders. In contrast, the proportion of adolescents with marijuana use disorders who did not report conduct problems remained relatively constant."Researchers know that bad behavior and drug use often go hand in hand among teens. While the causality can go either way — bad behavior causes drug use or vice versa — a reduction in one usually accompanies a reduction in the other. So if teens are becoming better-behaved overall, it stands to reason that drug problems will decrease, too."Other research shows that psychiatric disorders earlier in childhood are strong predictors of marijuana use later on," Grucza said in a statement. "So it's likely that if these disruptive behaviors are recognized earlier in life, we may be able to deliver therapies that will help prevent marijuana problems — and possibly problems with alcohol and other drugs, too."Again, the research here does not at all show that liberalization of marijuana laws caused these reductions in teenage marijuana abuse. But it does strongly suggest that other factors — such as broader behavioral and mental health trends — are much more likely to drive changes in teen marijuana use than other factors, such as laws or attitudes toward pot.Grucza's study adds to a growing body of research showing that changes to marijuana policy have had a much smaller effect on teenage drug use than once feared. A paper published in Lancet Psychiatry last year found that passing medical-marijuana laws had no effect on teen marijuana use at the state level. Other large surveys of adolescents, such as the Monitoring the Future Study, find that in recent years teen marijuana use has been flat. State-level federal survey data shows little change in teen marijuana use, even in states that have legalized it for adults.As a number of states consider marijuana legalization this fall, opponents are already asking: "But what about the children?" If the research by Grucza and others is any indication, the kids will be just fine. Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Christopher IngrahamPublished: May 29, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by observer on June 01, 2016 at 14:03:08 PT
Dumbing Down Teens - That's Government's Job
re: "Legal Weed is Not Dumbing Down Nation’s Teens"No, that's government's job. Because that way, people are easier to control and herd.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on June 01, 2016 at 07:51:43 PT
A Nation Can Withdraw UN Single Convention Treaty 
BOLIVIA WITHDRAWS FROM THE UN SINGLE CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS.TNI and WOLA express their full understanding and support for the decision taken by the Morales administration, with the approval of the Bolivian legislature.
30 Jun 2011 did it for traditional coca leaves, but the same tactic could be used to free cannabis from oppressive legal policies.
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on May 31, 2016 at 06:53:00 PT
Another Human Rights Court Challenge Pending? 
Pot shop refuses to be bullied by cop raids.
Monday, May 30, 2016 12:01:20 EDT PM need to clairfy pot rules: T.O. health board.
The federal government needs to step up and put an end to the confusion surrounding the sale of pot prior to legalizing the popular drug.
FIRST POSTED: MONDAY, MAY 30, 2016 08:02 PM EDT | UPDATED: MONDAY, MAY 30, 2016 08:09 PM EDT News from research organizations.
Canada's plans to legalize marijuana contravene UN's international conventions, say experts.
May 16, 2016.
Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The Canadian government's plan to legalize marijuana contravenes its current legal obligations to the United Nation's international drug-control conventions, states a new expert commentary.
[details follow:]
The Canadian government's plan to legalize marijuana contravenes its current legal obligations to the United Nation's international drug-control conventions, states a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)."The federal government should immediately take proactive steps to seek a reservation to the marijuana provisions of these treaties and/or to initiate their renegotiation in light of its legalization plans," write Dr. Steven Hoffman and Ms. Roojin Habibi, both with the Global Strategy Lab at the University of Ottawa's Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics. "If these diplomatic efforts fail, Canada must formally withdraw from these treaties to avoid undermining international law and compromising its global position."Three legally binding international treaties control or prohibit access to various drugs around the world, including marijuana.Other jurisdictions, such as Colorado and Washington in the United States and Uruguay, have legalized marijuana and violate current UN conventions.The authors suggest that the most feasible option for Canada is to withdraw from these treaties. The federal government could then fulfill its campaign promise to legalize marijuana without violating international law."Formally withdrawing from outdated treaties like these is a country's sovereign right. It may also be a moral duty if the government believes the conventions' required policies are harmful," state the authors.
} [end of details]Radical Rant: Why 'We Need More Research' On Cannabis Is Bullsh*t.
[edited to comply with cannabisnews guidelines]
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on May 30, 2016 at 10:04:22 PT
Dumbing Down? No Way, Smartening Up!
From a psychopharmacological perspective, cannabis opens the mind to higher level experience, which with a positive setting will increase understanding and effectiveness. Trouble arises when the mindset and/or the setting is so negative that the consumer becomes confused and unable to derive benefits.Dumbing down already has a method of choice, the legal and ever-popular alcohol in large doses.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on May 30, 2016 at 09:15:46 PT
Going, round and round?Einstein's saying on stupidity?Doing the same thing over and over again?Such as prohibition of ...
Legalize it all!
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