A comprehensive review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said they’ve concluded that, “few marijuana users become dependent.” By contrast, alcohol users are twice as likely to become dependent. Yet, more than half of young adults entering drug treatment programs are there for marijuana.
Researchers at Binghamton University and the University of Iowa shed some light on the topic, according to AlterNet. The researchers found that youth ranging from age 12 through 20 admitted into drug treatment programs for marijuana rose between 1995 through 2012. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other regular marijuana use reporting agencies showed that youth marijuana use declined during this same time period.
Studies also show that rates of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) fell by large numbers. The most recent reports by the US National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that CUD reduced by 25-percent between 2002 and 2014.
A 2016 NIDA-funded study showed a 24-percent decline in “problematic” marijuana use in young people. With all these declines, many are questioning why teens are being directed to drug treatment programs in increasing numbers. The criminal justice system is the answer. Between 1995 and 2012, an increase of teens deferred to these programs rose 70-percent. Of those deferred to drug treatment, 53-percent were referred to the programs by the criminal justice system.
The study’s authors say that these teens don’t belong in treatment. They say there are no mental or physical health issues related to their marijuana use. Since 2008, 30-percent of those in treatment programs for marijuana dependence hadn’t had prior records of using marijuana 30-days or less before being admitted.