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Age: Cannabis use disorders for younger people?



A question that often arises among consumers is whether the age at which I start smoking will have a greater impact on me. American researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse were able to answer this question during a survey conducted over several years.


To conduct the study, researchers collected and analyzed data from several participants between 2015 and 2018. Their goal was to find out if age was a determinant to the development of addictive substance use disorders. Is the first joint really impactful on subsequent consumption patterns? The study therefore focused on two age groups: 12-17 year olds and 18-25 year olds.


The first results were remarkable, they could see that the first age group was the most concerned by this disorder compared to young adults. It is indeed after the consumption of the first joint that the trend is defined. Only one year after this experience, almost 11% of the 12-17 years old declare to be addicted to the substance against 6,5% for the 18-25 years old.


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Paradoxically, the observation is different for alcohol and tobacco, yet they are also addictive. The disorders do not belong mostly to the same age group, but why such a contradiction?


What differentiates these different "drugs" at the moment are the regulations put in place for them. Tobacco and alcohol are legal in France, accompanied of course by informative and preventive campaigns on the effects of these drugs. Cannabis remains illegal, but is less and less demonized in the eyes of young people, making its consumption less risky according to them.


This raises the question of the need for legislation to be advanced, with an intensive prevention campaign to dissuade the youngest from making their consumption a habit. In Canada, for example, consumption among 15-17 year olds has decreased by 47% since the legalization of the plant in the country.


Would this be an effective alternative to protect French youth from addiction to smoking?