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Cannabis Use Lower Among Illinois Teens Living in Zip Codes With Medical Dispensaries

Illinois teens who live in ZIP codes that have medical cannabis dispensaries are less likely to use the drug, new research found.

In a statewide survey, about 18.3% of the youths living in Illinois ZIP codes with medical dispensaries reported they used cannabis during the prior year compared with 22.4% of those who lived in ZIP codes without these businesses, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found. They reported the findings in the journal Cannabis.

Likewise, fewer students – 12% – with medical dispensaries in their ZIP codes reported they had used cannabis during the prior 30 days, compared with 15.6% of their peers who lived in other ZIP codes, the researchers found.

The sample included more than 10,560 young people who participated in the 2018 Illinois Youth Survey, a biennial assessment conducted by the Center for Prevention Research and Development at the U. of I. The anonymous survey asks students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades at schools across Illinois about various health and social issues, including their alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

“There’s good news, and there are still reasons to be cautious and continue monitoring things,” said Doug Smith, the director of the center, a professor of social work and an expert on substance use in teens and young adults. “The good news is that it looks like in Illinois there was no immediate impact on adolescent substance use rates after medical dispensaries came on. In fact, we found that across the whole sample, those who lived in a ZIP code with a dispensary were less likely to have used cannabis during the past 30 days or one year.”

Source : News