New Study Finds that Cannabis Use has Declined in High School Students in Washington

A recent study conducted by Washington State University (WSU)  reports that cannabis consumption has declined significantly among Washington’s eighth graders, 10th graders and high school seniors who work less than 11 hours per week since sales was legalized in the state. In fact, the study reveals that the only group of students who consume cannabis more often since legalization is high school seniors, predominantly 12th graders who work more than 11 hours per week. The report finds that cannabis consumption has remained constant for high school seniors who work less than 11 hours per week.

The research was carried out by Janessa Graves, assistant professor of WSU’s College of Nursing, and the full report can be found in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The researchers targeted high school seniors, mainly 8th, 10th and 12th graders who work in occupations that exclude regular adolescent jobs such as household chores, babysitting or yard work. The research aimed to study how legalization has impacted cannabis consumption among this targeted group and found out that regardless of what grade they were in, cannabis consumption was reportedly higher in students who work 11 hours or more per week.

According to the research, since legalization, “4.8 percent of non?working 8th graders reported using cannabis within the last 30 days, while 20.8 percent of their working peers did. Among 10th graders, 13.9 percent reported using marijuana within the last 30 days in 2016, versus 33.2 percent of 10th graders who worked 11 or more hours per week. The difference for 12th graders was 20.5 percent non?working, versus 36.7 percent working,” reports WSU’s website news.

“Kids who work more often use substances, that’s not a shock,” Graves said. The study found that student workers are more vulnerable to getting exposed to adult substance use in their workplace than their non working peers, and given they have a source of income, cannabis consumption is a more common trend among them.

“Kids learn a lot by working, in terms of responsibility,” Graves said. “But there are also pretty good data showing that kids who work engage in adult?like behaviors earlier. I would say this for any parent of working kids: It’s important to know the quality of management and supervision at your child’s job. Be thoughtful about the quality of a particular workplace.”


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