Study Finds No Evidence Legal Medical Cannabis Increases Youth Marijuana Use

A study of data from across the country has found no evidence that the legalization of medical cannabis and the establishment of dispensaries encourages marijuana use by young people. The study, “Medical marijuana laws (MMLs) and dispensary provisions not associated with higher odds of adolescent or heavy marijuana use: A 46 state analysis, 1991-2015,” was published online this week by the journal Substance Abuse.

To complete the study, researchers affiliated with John Hopkins University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reviewed data collected from a total of 46 states over a 25-year period. The investigators analyzed trends in cannabis use among adolescents in grades 9 through 12, using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey collected from 1991 through 2015.

In an abstract of the study, researchers wrote that they “found no evidence between 1991 and 2015 of increases in adolescents reporting past 30-day marijuana use or heavy marijuana use associated with state MML (medical marijuana law) enactment or operational MML dispensaries.”

Lower Cannabis Use Among 9th Graders

In fact, the data revealed that overall, states with medical marijuana programs actually had fewer current adolescent marijuana users, which were defined as survey respondents reporting cannabis use within the previous 30 days, than

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