Playing with Pot to get around the law – Damage is still being done – But the ‘legal’ harms are on the State.

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Adolescent Δ8-THC and Marijuana Use in the US

JAMA. 2024;331(10):861-865. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.0865

Question:  What is the prevalence of self-reported Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and marijuana use among 12th-grade students in the US and its distribution across sociodemographic factors and state cannabis policies?

Findings:  In this nationally representative 2023 survey, 11.4% of 2186 US 12th-grade students self-reported Δ8-THC use and 30.4% self-reported marijuana use in the past year. Δ8-THC use prevalence was higher in the South and Midwest US and in states without legal adult-use marijuana or Δ8-THC regulations. Marijuana use prevalence did not differ by cannabis policies.

Meaning:  Δ8-THC use prevalence is appreciable among US adolescents and is a potential public health concern.


Importance:  Gummies, flavored vaping devices, and other cannabis products containing psychoactive hemp-derived Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are increasingly marketed in the US with claims of being federally legal and comparable to marijuana. National data on prevalence and correlates of Δ8-THC use and comparisons to marijuana use among adolescents in the US are lacking.

Objective:  To estimate the self-reported prevalence of and sociodemographic and policy factors associated with Δ8-THC and marijuana use among US adolescents in the past 12 months.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This nationally representative cross-sectional analysis included a randomly selected subset of 12th-grade students in 27 US states who participated in the Monitoring the Future Study in-school survey during February to June 2023.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome was self-reported Δ8-THC and marijuana use in the past 12 months (any vs no use and number of occasions used).

Conclusions and Relevance  Δ8-THC use prevalence is appreciable among US adolescents and is higher in states without marijuana legalization or existing Δ8-THC regulations. Prioritizing surveillance, policy, and public health efforts addressing adolescent Δ8-THC use may be warranted.

For complete research go to Adolescent Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network

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