Friday, November 29, 2013

More about the predictors of youth marijuana use

In the previous post, I provided an overview of a recent presentation about how marijuana availability and norms are strong predictors of youth use of the drug.  The information was based on a presentation given during a recent symposium at the University of Washington.

The presentation ended with a closer look at how new state marijuana laws may affect levels of risk for marijuana use among teenagers.  UW researchers predict that both availability and norms will change.  They point out that parenting behaviors, including parent use, may change.

When looking at increased marijuana availability among youth, researchers not only point to stores and the likely commercialization of marijuana similar to the commercialization of other legal drugs and consumable goods.  They also predict that more adults who are parents will use marijuana, making the drug available in the home.  With the proliferation of non-smoked forms of marijuana, public use of these hard-to-detect products may result in increased availability among youth.  

Since marijuana-infused foods have become more available through the medical marijuana system, it is expected that they will become more available in the I-502 system, as well.  If adults in a household keep marijuana-infused ice-cream in the freezer, how will it be differentiated from regular ice-cream and away from kids?   

The presentation concluded with discussion about implications of increased availability and norms favorable to marijuana use and what can be done.  Strategies to reduce home and social access were discussed.  Communities will need to monitor norms around use.  Availability and norms may be increasingly important risk factors that those of us who work to prevent youth drug use will need to address in our communities.  

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