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Takeaways on Teen Tokers

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Science based decision making requires investing into research. While there is a desire to understand the impacts of cannabis consumption on the human body there is equal value and importance in investigating the trends of usage among various populations. Tension between entrepreneurs and community members are common in Chicago and other communities around the state. It is clear that while voters supported decriminalization, that didn’t mean those same voters wish to see cannabis businesses on their block.

Many arguments against cannabis are for the protection of teens and youth.

The Illinois Youth Survey has been “surveying the health and social indicators of Illinois youth since 1993,” according to their website. The survey of over 10,560 Illinois teens illustrated a decrease in cannabis use for teens in zip codes with medical dispensaries. The 2018 data being published in 2023 while useful, can also create some confusion as we are 5 years into a more robust and accessible industry. These gaps in science and publication can be significant as polices and the industry is so dynamic interpreting the applicability of 5 year old data may be unreasonable.

Chicago News Weekly reached out to Dr. Doug Smith, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but was unable to reach him at the time of this publication. While slow science has been advocated for by the scientific community there is a need for real time data and cannabis is unfortunately highly susceptible like other industries to propaganda and misinformation.
So, what were some key findings?

- In more populated areas cannabis use was more prevalent
- Chicago youth reported greater use (29%) than those in the suburbs of Chicago (19%)
- Cannabis use increased between eighth and 12th grade regardless of the presence or absence of a medical dispensary.

With so many new methods of ingesting cannabis there does need to be more investigation on the impacts of THC and other cannabinoids on developing adolescents. It is also fair considering bodies use marijuana for healing or pain relief and ensuring the products, doses, and processing results in high quality herbal remedies. It appears science is in the works, and it will take time and data collection. While most of society is survey averse, cannabis seems to need the publics full participation if there is to be an accessible, safe and equitable economy.  Head over to our website to take our cannabis poll! We would love to learn where you stand on all things cannabis.

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About Author:

Dr. Mila Marshall is an environmental professional and journalist with a passion for advancing sustainability in all sectors. Her passion is directed towards urban food systems in segregated cities.



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