Updated: Jan 2020
Marijuana use has steadily increased since 2013. The 17% of adults using marijuana in 2018 is significantly higher than the proportion using in 2016 and earlier years and people age 18-24 are more likely to use marijuana than people in other age groups.
Early and persistent use of marijuana can cause long-term adverse effects across several health domains. Of particular concern is the robust relationship between early use and the development of psychotic symptoms especially among those who consume very high potency marijuana. Most of the prospective longitudinal studies began 20-30 years ago when marijuana potency (% of THC) was four to five times lower than it is today. The health effects of this significant increase in marijuana potency will not be known for years to come, but it is likely to amplify outcomes already established in current research. In addition, in January 2017 the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences issued a report titled “Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda.”
Early and continuous use of marijuana also significantly increases the risk of not completing high school, not enrolling in or completing college, low educational achievement, lower income, unemployment and welfare dependence as an adult, premature workforce retirement due to disability, and reduction in IQ in middle adulthood.
Epidemiological studies published in the past 2 decades demonstrate that marijuana use by drivers is associated with a significantly increased crash risk. The crash risk appears to increase progressively with the dose and frequency of marijuana use. (Ashbridge et al. Li et al., 2012)
It is important to look at the reasons why more Vermonters on average are using marijuana and beginning marijuana use earlier than most other states. The Health Department is monitoring how our efforts are making a positive difference with marijuana use, especially among young people in Vermont.