Medicine

No, Medical-Marijuana Legalization Doesn't Make Teens Smoke More Pot

No, Medical-Marijuana Legalization Doesn't Make Teens Smoke More Pot

1996 marked California becoming the country's first state to make medical marijuana legal and since then, 28 other states have followed suit.

Since the Canadian federal government has committed to legalizing, regulating, and restricting access to non-medical use of cannabis there have been many types of research and studies conducted.

The correlation between legalization and teen use has been hotly debated for years, but the study found that in states where the drug is legalized for medicinal purposes there was no increase in use among teenagers compared to usage levels before legalization, according to Live Science. Opponents of medical marijuana argue that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents, while advocates contend that medical marijuana helps to address the USA opioid crisis by reducing overdose deaths.

"The cannabis industry has been vocal about transforming itself from an $8 billion industry to triple that figure by 2025", Hasin told MedPage Today.

"For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens' use of the drug", senior study author Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a statement. "That means they will be advertising to increase the market".

The researchers analyzed the results of eleven separate studies dating back to 1991 using data from four large-scale US surveys: Monitoring the Future; National Longitudinal Survey of Youth; National Survey on Drug Use and Health; and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

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States that passed medical marijuana laws experienced greater increases in illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorder than states that did not pass such laws, suggesting an association between the two.

In four studies that compared MML with non-MML states on pre-MML differences, all found higher rates of past-month marijuana use in MML states prior to MML passage.

The second claim, that legalising medical marijuana reduces opioid overdose deaths by offering a less risky method of pain management, is addressed in an editorial co-authored by several members of Addiction's editorial board.

A new study was released in Health Reports which examines the long-term trends of cannabis use in Canada, and the results were probably not what anyone expected.

They wrote that while the low risk of overdose from cannabinoids is well established, their modest analgesic efficacy was shown in a recent systematic review.

"Understanding the nuances of the laws to determine which components of a policy are associated with positive and negative effects and to balance potential harms and benefits should be necessary considerations for policymakers and those implementing state laws", Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and colleagues wrote in an accompanying editorial. Please see the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.

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