J Subst Abuse Treat. 2021 Jul;126:108340. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108340. Epub 2021 Feb 25.
BACKGROUND: Cannabis is a highly used substance among youth, but has the potential to negatively impact the developing brain. Recreational cannabis use was legalized in Canada in October 2018. This exploratory study examines cannabis use profiles of high-risk youth before and after the national legalization of recreational cannabis use.
METHOD: This cross-sectional cohort study examines the cannabis use profiles of two cohorts of youth, one recruited prior to legalization (N = 101) and one recruited after legalization (N = 168).
RESULTS: This study found few changes in cannabis use patterns after legalization. The rate of high-frequency cannabis use, polysubstance use, social circles of use, and mental health and substance use challenges showed no change, and the study found no associations with age. Exceptions were that youth were more likely to report purchasing cannabis from a legal source after legalization. Concealment of cannabis use from legal authorities declined after legalization among youth over the age of majority (19+ years), but not among younger youth (<19 years).
CONCLUSIONS: Minimal changes have occurred in the cannabis use patterns of service-seeking youth in the short term following legalization. This holds true both for youth who have reached the age of majority and those who have not. Nevertheless, this population has overlapping substantial mental health and substance use challenges. Integrated services should address cannabis use and other concurrent challenges and be sensitive to the postlegalization social climate.
Source: ncbi 2