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Here are the states where teens smoke the most pot

A recent report compared the youth marijuana usage rates across the U.S. states, revealing some surprising differences.

NurPhoto / Contributor
  • The report is based on the most recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health.
  • Overall, the share of younger Americans (17 and under) who have used marijuana in the past year declined slightly from 2016 to 2017, but some states showed increases.
  • No studies indicate that marijuana legalization causes more teens to start using marijuana.


As marijuana becomes increasingly legal across the U.S., are more American teens using cannabis, and how do usage rates vary by state?

A recent report from Oxford Treatment Center explored those questions by comparing data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health for 2016 to 2017, which was the most recent dataset available.


What did the report indicate? Well, there are some considerable differences among U.S. states when it comes to their share of young people (17 and younger) who use marijuana. Utah, for instance, came at the bottom of the list (9.2 percent) while its immediate neighbor, Colorado, came in on top (17 percent).

Nationally, the share of younger Americans who had used marijuana in the past year declined slightly from 2016 to 2017, though some states saw double-digit year-over-year increases, such as Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, and Illinois — all states where recreational marijuana is or will soon be legal.

You can check out how your state ranked in the infographic below.

Does legalization cause more teens to use marijuana?

There's no evidence that conclusively shows legalization causes more teens to start using marijuana. In fact, a 2018 report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety showed that marijuana use among teens hadn't significantly changed in the years since the state became the first to legalize recreational marijuana. But that doesn't mean Colorado's legalization experiment hasn't brought problems.

One is driving while high: Car-accident fatalities involving "cannabinoid‐only or cannabinoid‐in‐combination" drivers increased from 55 in 2013 to 139 in 2017.

"I think more than anything we need to combat that perception about driving while high," Andrew Freedman, a consultant for governments considering legalization, told The Denver Post. "Just because you're driving slowly on the highway doesn't mean it's safe."

The number of hospitalizations involving marijuana also increased after legalization. Increasingly potent marijuana likely bears some of the blame: THC levels in marijuana have increased nearly three-fold since the early 1990s, and it's unknown exactly how this is affecting users. Some health experts warn it's more dangerous than the public might be aware.

"Horrible things are happening to kids," Libby Stuyt, a psychiatrist who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana, told The Washington Post, which reported that visits to Children's Hospital Colorado facilities for paranoia, psychosis, and other "acute cannabis-related symptoms" jumped from 161 in 2005 to 777 in 2015, in the Denver area. "I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety."

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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