In 2016, rates of marijuana use among the nation’s 12- to 17-year-olds dropped to their lowest level in more than two decades, according to federal survey data released this week.
Last year, 6.5 percent of adolescents used marijuana on a monthly basis, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That represents a statistically significant drop from 2014, when the nation’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in Washington state and Colorado.
The last time monthly teen marijuana use was this low was 1994, according to the survey.
Public health experts worry more about adolescent than adult drug use because adolescent brains are still developing. Teen drug use is linked to health problems later in life, including addiction, criminal behavior and cognitive deficits.