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NIH study shows more young adults using marijuana

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new federal report from the National Institutes of Health about marijuana shows the number of young people using pot has jumped to historic highs.

Researchers say there are several factors contributing to this increase including stress from the ongoing pandemic.

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As more states legalized marijuana, medical experts say they’ve noticed an increase in usage, whether occasional, monthly or daily.

Marijuana is now legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and some medical experts say this increased access has contributed to an all-time high of marijuana usage in young people.

“There has been a shift in the perspective of ultimately how dangerous marijuana is and people feel much more comfortable that marijuana ... the basically the sense that is not such a dangerous drug,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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A new NIH study shows the number of young adults between 19 to 30 years old who reported marijuana use jumped to 43% last year. The report shows that’s an almost 10% increase from five years earlier.

Volkow said this is troubling because using marijuana every day can have negative effects.

“The people that use marijuana regularly, for example, are much more likely to have negative effects in terms of their performance at school or their performance at work, or even their in social interactions — they tend to actually sometimes get more isolated,” said Volkow.

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But experts are still examining the extent of the long-term medical damage.

“We really do not know whether we have the genes that would make us vulnerable to our chronic psychosis when we smoke marijuana or not,” said Volkow.

Some doctors say another concern is that regular marijuana use can also be harmful to your heart.

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