Marijuana’s perceived approval ratings on the rise


Parents’ disapproval of marijuana use has dropped since 1979 – at least that’s what their teenage children say, according to results of the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey.

The approximately 13,500 12th graders involved in the 2017 survey believe that their parents are much less likely to disapprove of marijuana use, compared with the students who responded to the survey during 1976-1979. At that time, 15% of the 12th graders said that their parents would not disapprove of using marijuana once or twice, but by 2017 the number had made a statistically significant rise to 23%, Richard A. Miech, PhD, and his associates said in their report on the 2017 survey.

Perceived approval of occasional marijuana use, which had garnered only an 8% share of respondents in 1976-1979, was up to a significantly higher 17% in 2017, and regular use went from 4% to 13%, said Dr. Miech and his associates, of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor.

Parents’ increased acceptance of marijuana, as perceived by the 12th-grade students, was not matched for other substances. Disapproval for smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day, for example, climbed from 89% in 1976-1979 to 92% in 2017, while disapproval of weekend binge drinking rose just a bit, going from 85% to 86%, they said.

Twelfth graders who believe their parents do not disapprove

Measures of parental disapproval were reintroduced into the survey in 2017 after being removed in 1979 – the survey began in 1975 – “because students’ responses varied little over time and across drugs,” Dr. Miech and his associates noted. “Today’s parents of 12th graders have more experience with drug use than did parents in the late 1970s [and] population attitudes toward marijuana use across all ages are becoming more lenient,” they wrote.

The 2017 edition of the annual survey, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is based on reports from almost 44,000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade in 360 public and private secondary schools across the country.

Recommended Reading

N-acetylcysteine: A potential treatment for substance use disorders
MDedge Psychiatry
Helping patients quit smoking: Lessons from the EAGLES trial
MDedge Psychiatry
Hefty rewards pay off in smoking-cessation study
MDedge Psychiatry
Link between alcohol consumption, neuroinflammation has possible treatment implications
MDedge Psychiatry
AMA: Opioid prescriptions down since 2013
MDedge Psychiatry

Related Articles