One distinction that is important to keep in mind during all of the news coverage about marijuana and psychedelic use reaching all-time highs is the one between “young adults” and “adolescents,” because those two data points are starkly different.
Young adults were defined in the MTF survey as 19 to 30 year-olds. This age group is smoking more marijuana than ever before. However, the study also draws an “adolescent” line with those from eighth grade up to 12th grade. These numbers are very different, and show a slowly descending number for years now.
12th graders, for instance, peaked at 37.1% of respondents saying they had smoked marijuana within the past month in 1978, and has fallen down to 21.1% in 2020. 10th graders, who started to be surveyed in 1991, peaked in 1997 at 20.5% and dropped to 16.6% in 2020. Eighth graders have cut their number in half since their peak of 11.3% in 1996, sitting at 6.5% in 2020.
2021 went even further for each category. These numbers most likely were effected by the pandemic, but still are worth considering: 19.5% for 12th graders, 10.1% for 10th graders, and 4.1% for eighth graders.
The skeptics among us have brought up the likelihood of an increase in teenage marijuana-use getting paired with legalization across the country, and while the initial data from the monitoring the future survey seemed to support that hunch, the adolescent numbers don’t back it up.
Read the original story at Reason.