sábado, 5 de marzo de 2016

State Estimates of Adolescent Marijuana Use and Perceptions of Risk of Harm From Marijuana Use: 2013 and 2014

State Estimates of Adolescent Marijuana Use and Perceptions of Risk of Harm From Marijuana Use: 2013 and 2014

This artwork depicts the United States, counties, and small areas used in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


Arthur Hughes, M.S., Rachel N. Lipari, Ph.D., and Matthew Williams, Ph.D.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States for the population overall 
and for youths in particular.1 Although the laws regarding marijuana use have changed in a 
number of states over the past decade, marijuana use remains illegal under federal laws in all 
states (e.g., the Controlled Substances Act;
Research has indicated that there are health risks associated with youth marijuana use,2
including poorer education/employment outcomes,3 poorer cognitive outcomes,4,5increased 
likelihood of vehicle crashes,6 and increased addiction risk.7 Even though research indicates 
that youth marijuana use is a health risk, nationally only 1 in 5 adolescents perceived great 
risk from monthly marijuana use in 2014, which is lower than in any other year from 2002 
to 2013.8 Preventing adolescents from starting to use marijuana is an effective way to reduce 
the impact of marijuana use in the future. Thus, it is useful for state policymakers and 
prevention specialists to assess recent trends in youths' marijuana use and their perception of 
the great risk of harm to their health from marijuana use.

All states continue efforts to reduce adolescent marijuana use. As longitudinal research has 
shown, youth attitudes about the risks associated with substance use are often closely related 
to their use, with an inverse association between use and risk perceptions (i.e., the prevalence 
of use is lower among those who perceive high risk of harm from use).9 Thus, states with a high 
prevalence of adolescent marijuana use would be expected to have a low prevalence of 
adolescent perception that there is a great health risk from using marijuana. State-level 
information about marijuana use and attitudes about marijuana use 
can provide states with vital data to inform educational and prevention efforts.
This issue of The CBHSQ Report uses National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data 
to present national and state (including the District of Columbia) estimates of past month 
marijuana use and perceptions of great risk from smoking marijuana once a month among 
youths aged 12 to 17.10 Estimates are annual averages based on combined 2013 and 2014 
NSDUH data from 39,600 respondents.10 The combined 2013-2014 estimates are compared to estimates from combined 2012-2013 data, which are based on responses from 45,000 youths aged 12 to 17.11
Estimates are displayed in U.S. maps and tables. To produce the marijuana use map (Figure 1),
state estimates were first rank ordered from lowest to highest and then divided into quintiles 
(fifths). States with the lowest estimates (i.e., the lowest fifth) are assigned to the bottom 
quintile and are shown in dark blue. States with the highest estimates are assigned to the top 
quintile and are shown in dark red. All other states are assigned to one of three quintiles 
between the lowest and highest quintiles. Figure 2, the map showing perceived great risk from 
smoking marijuana monthly, was produced in a similar fashion, except that the rank ordering 
was done in reverse order so that the lower estimates of youths' perceptions of risk of 
marijuana use are assigned to the top quintile and are shown in dark red. Supporting tables 
associated with the maps (Tables S1 and S2) provide estimates that are rank ordered from highest to lowest and divided into quintiles (fifths).12
Tables 1 and 2 show comparisons between estimates for combined 2013–2014 data and 
estimates for combined 2012–2013 data to examine changes over time. In these tables, 
estimates for the states are listed alphabetically. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals are 
included as a measure of precision for each estimate. Figure 3 is a map summarizing these 
changes (supporting Table S3). The inclusion of a common year (i.e., 2013) in these comparisons
increases the precision of the estimates and the ability to detect statistically significant 
differences between the two time periods. Statistically significant differences between 
2013–2014 and 2012–2013 indicate average annual changes between 2012 and 2014. All 
changes discussed in this report are statistically significant at the .05 level.13

In Brief
  • Based on 2013-2014 data, 7.22 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 across the nation used marijuana in the past month. Adolescent marijuana use ranged from 4.98 percent in Alabama to 12.56 percent in Colorado.
  • In 2013–2014, about one out of four (23.54 percent) adolescents nationwide perceived great risk in smoking marijuana once a month (i.e., monthly use), ranging from 15.72 percent in the District of Columbia to 32.75 percent in Utah.
  • Adolescent marijuana use remained unchanged in 48 states and declined in 3 (comparing 2013–2014 estimates to 2012–2013 estimates). However, youth perceptions of great risk of harm from monthly marijuana use decreased in 14 states, while 37 states experienced no change.

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