Just In: Legal Medical Marijuana Does NOT Lead To More Teen Potheads
Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz (Getty)
So now all those old suit and ties can take a deep breath and find something else to complain about.
Even though more and more states are making marijuana legal, there are still some people who have an issue with this, with some folks saying that this will just lead to more young people smoking pot and causing chaos. Not the case according to a review shared on Addiction.
The review shows that “researchers studied data from 11 separate studies, including four large, nationally representative surveys that are still ongoing. That allowed them to pool together and analyze nationwide rates of teen cannabis use from as early as 1991 all the way to 2014. They then compared rates in states before and after they had passed a medical marijuana law to states that never did.”
“The results were quite clear—medical marijuana laws did not lead to increases in teen marijuana use,” epidemiologist at Columbia University, Deborah Hasin, said.
The findings also say nothing about the effect that full-tilt legalization laws that have passed in states such as Colorado could have. “Experts generally agree that recreational marijuana laws are likely to have stronger effects than medical marijuana laws,” Hasin said. “The $8 billion cannabis industry is looking to triple by 2025, and commercialization may have impacts on both adults and teens.”
Her team has looked at that question specifically, but came away with no consistent answers. They published a 2016 study in JAMA Pediatrics that found teen use jumped in Washington following recreational pot legalization, but not in Colorado. That ambiguity highlights the need for more research, according to Hasin. Above all, Hasin said that people shouldn’t take her team’s findings as evidence that pot is harmless to either teens or adults.
Hasin still wants to make sure early use of pot among teens is looked at, even though the 2017 version of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that only 6.5 percent of children from the ages of 12 to 17 had used cannabis in the past 30 days, the lowest since 1994. And that surprises me because we need pot more than ever these days.