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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Marijuana and psychedelic drug use is at an all-time high among young adults

According to the findings of a government study, the usage of psychoactive substances such as marijuana and hallucinogens among young people hit an all-time high in 2017 after having remained relatively stable throughout the first year of the coronavirus epidemic.

The data, which are part of the government’s annual study of drug use among young Americans, also indicated that in 2021, despite a short hiatus, nicotine vaping and excessive alcohol use continued to grow. Another concerning development among young adults aged 19 to 30 is the growing use of alcoholic drinks that have been infused with THC, the euphoric component found in cannabis.

However, there were a few encouraging findings in the poll. The continuation of a trend that has public health professionals feeling encouraged is the decline in cigarette smoking and opioid misuse seen among young people in the last year.

According to professionals in studies on substance abuse, the growing prevalence of marijuana usage among young individuals is particularly noteworthy. According to the results of the poll, the percentage of people aged 19 to 30 who had used cannabis 20 times or more in the preceding month rose from 34 percent to 43 percent. This ratio was at 29 percent in the year 2011. Marijuana use on a daily basis has also increased dramatically, going from 6 percent in 2011 to 11 percent in 2016.

It should not come as a surprise that the growth in recreational marijuana usage has coincided with the expansion of the number of states that have made it legal for adults to consume marijuana for non-medical purposes (19 states in the last decade).

According to the opinions of several specialists, psychedelics are subject to a dynamic that is very comparable. It had been constant for decades, but in 2021, 8 percent of young people reported taking psychedelics, compared with 3 percent in 2011. This was a record high since the category was first assessed in 1988. The usage of hallucinogens had also been consistent for decades.

Even though the negative effects of psychedelics typically only last for a short period of time — overdoses are extremely uncommon, and the vast majority of compounds do not cause addiction — experts insist that it is essential to take these substances under the supervision of a trained professional. Psilocybin has been legalised in certain states, but it and other popular psychedelics are still illegal under federal law. However, the Food and Drug Administration is likely to award authorization for some therapeutic applications of psilocybin in the coming years.

Marijuana usage comes with a number of possible problems, some of which include the potential for addiction, the risk of driving while impaired, and the impact on mental health, which may include increased anxiety, sadness, and transient psychosis.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a condition that causes heavy marijuana users to experience frequent bouts of vomiting. According to her, this increased potency has contributed to an increase in the number of cases of the syndrome.

Overall, Professor Harris said that she was heartened by several of the survey’s patterns, notably the continuous decreases in cigarette usage, particularly among teens. Specifically, she cited this finding as one of her sources of optimism. She made the observation that the decline in smoking was evidence of the advantages that may result from prolonged and consistent public health messaging about the dangers of tobacco. However, she noted that it was concerning that there had been an increase in the number of people in their twenties who were abusing drugs and alcohol, particularly considering the fact that these formative years had the ability to shape a person’s behaviour for the rest of their lives.

The director of the N.I.D.A., Dr. Volkow, was in agreement. She said that in light of the decriminalisation of previously illegal substances, professionals in the field of public health have to devise means of conveying the possible risks of using recreational drugs that also have therapeutic advantages that are more nuanced and intelligent.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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