“We have been expecting marijuana use to increase among young adults,” lead author Richard Miech told Reuters Health in an email.
Young adults today as compared to those of the past are less likely to hold the belief that occasional marijuana use will negatively affect their health, said Miech, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“We’ve seen again and again that when this belief trends down then marijuana use increases (e.g. in the early 1990s), and, conversely, that when this belief trends up then marijuana use declines (e.g. in the mid-1980s),” he told Reuters Health by email.
Miech and his colleagues think the recent string of U.S. states having legalized recreational use of marijuana accounts in part for the declining proportion of young adults who believe that occasional marijuana use is harmful to health.
“It is likely that at least some young adults interpret this wave of legalization as a signal that marijuana use is safe and state-sanctioned,”…