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Objective: Understanding how recreational cannabis legalization may impact cannabis use disorder (CUD) among adolescents and young adults is key to developing an appropriate public health response. This research investigates whether associations among adolescent and young adult perception of risk of harm from cannabis use, prevalence of past-month cannabis use, and rate of CUD treatment admissions changed following recreational cannabis legalization in the US, 2008–2019.

Methods: Data from the NSDUH and TEDS-A datasets are employed in difference-in-differences models of the effect of recreational legalization on perception of risk, cannabis use prevalence, and CUD treatment admissions. Moderated models test whether associations among variables changed following recreational legalization.

Results: Following recreational legalization: 1) adolescent and young adult past-month cannabis use prevalence increased; 2) among both adolescents and young adults, the association of lower perception of risk of harm with higher cannabis use prevalence was strengthened; 3) among adolescents, the association of higher cannabis use prevalence with higher CUD treatment admissions was suppressed; and 4) among young adults, an association of higher cannabis use prevalence with lower CUD treatment admissions emerged.

Conclusions: Recreational legalization is likely to increase cannabis use among adolescents and young adults who perceive cannabis as less harmful, while at the same time reduce rates of CUD treatment utilization. These trends portend an increase in unmet need for CUD treatment for age groups particularly vulnerable to the development and negative consequences of CUD.

Complete Research

(Permission models, always increase consumption, and the attending harms – See also Permission – The Most Effective Drug Pusher )

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World Federation Against Drugs

World Federation Against Drugs (W.F.A.D) Dalgarno Institute is a member of this global initiative. For evidence based data on best practice drug policy in the global context.
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Institute for Behavior and Health

The Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. is to reduce the use of illegal drugs. We work to achieve this mission by conducting research, promoting ideas that are affordable and scalable...
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Drug Free Australia

Drug Free Australia Website. Drug Free Australia is a peak body, representing organizations and individuals who value the health and wellbeing of our nation...
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Drug Advisory Council of Australia (D.A.C.A)

Drug Advisory Council of Australia (D.A.C.A) Dalgarno Institute is an executive member of this peak body. For updates on current illicit drug issues.
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International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy

(I.T.F.S.D.P) This international peak body continues to monitor and influence illicit drug policy on the international stage. Dalgarno Institute is a member organisation.
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Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Smart Approaches to Marijuana. SAM's leaders are among the world's most prominent voices calling for science-based marijuana education and awareness.

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There isn’t merely data sharing - it isn't about promoting a 'one dimensional' legislative solution to a complex problem
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Drug Free Futures

Drug Policy Futures believes in engaging in an open dialogue about the strengths and weaknesses of global drug policies...
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Action Alcohol

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol is a national coalition of health and community organisations from across Australia that has been formed with the goal of reducing alcohol-related harm.
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Greater Risk

Greater Risk Website - The younger they start the greater the risk...
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Rivermend Health

RiverMend Health is a premier provider of scientifically driven, specialty behavioral health services to those suffering from alcohol and drug dependency, dual disorders, eating disorders, obesity and chronic pain.
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Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center

SAMHSA is committed to improving prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for mental and substance use disorders.
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SAMHSA is committed to improving prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for mental and substance use disorders.