Young Australians would use cannabis if it were legal to do so

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A number of young Australians say they would use cannabis for the first time if it were legal, a UQ study has found.

Researchers from UQ's National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research and the School of Psychology used from more than 3,000 adolescents and to estimate how many might consider using the drug if it was legally available.

Study lead Dr. Janni Leung said the potential for increased use by young people remained a key concern of opponents of a change in the law.

"Support for legalizing recreational use of cannabis has increased in high-income populations around the world, including Australia," Dr. Leung said.

"Our study showed that 13 percent of adolescents (aged 12-17) and 15 percent of young adults (aged 18-25) would try cannabis if it were legal.

"Of these, 85 percent of the adolescents and 59 percent of the young adults said they had never used cannabis before.

"While most young Australians did not intend to use the drug, we have a substantial minority who say they would try it for the first time if it were legal to do so.

"In addition, who have used cannabis before expressed their intention to increase their use if it were allowed by law."

Dr. Leung said the legalization of cannabis for recreational use should be accompanied by public health resources to discourage use during adolescence and inform the public about the risks of regular .

"Our study gives policymakers and health service providers a glimpse of the potential impacts of cannabis legalization on adolescents and young adults in Australia," she said.

"This data could be used to inform and plan for public health interventions, treatment services, educational campaigns, and regulations needed for jurisdictions that have adopted or are considering legalizing cannabis for recreation use."

Citation: Young Australians would use cannabis if it were legal to do so (2020, July 30) retrieved 26 May 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Study reveals rapid increases in cannabis use among individuals with depression


Feedback to editors