18 Jun Higher Adolescent Marijuana Usage In States That Legalized Pot
MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Hasin: The background for the study was the need to identify the causes of the marked increase in marijuana use among U.S. adolescents over the last several years, given that early adolescent marijuana use leads to a number of adverse health and psychosocial consequences, including cognitive decline, into adulthood.
We had two main findings from the study:
- A comparison of the rates of adolescent marijuana use between states that ever passed a medical marijuana law and those that did not revealed that states with such laws had higher rates of teen marijuana use, regardless of when they passed the law; and
- When we compared the rates of teen marijuana use in these states before and after passage of the laws, we did not find a post-passage increase in the rates of teen marijuana use. This suggests that some common factor may be causing both the laws to be passed and the teens to be more likely to smoke marijuana in the states that passed these laws.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Hasin: Clinicians, patients and parents should remain concerned about marijuana use in teens, perhaps particularly in states that have passed medical marijuana laws. If you are confused about where marijuana is legal or illegal, check out this map of marijuana legal states. This map is regularly updated for the most accurate results.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Hasin: Given the serious consequences of early adolescent marijuana use, its causes must still be found. Research is needed to identify the relevant factors, including the influence of changing adult and teen attitudes towards the acceptability of marijuana use, and an increasingly widespread (but incorrect) belief that marijuana use is always harmless.
Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys
Hasin, Deborah S et al.
The Lancet Psychiatry Published Online: 15 June 2015
Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University, & New York, New York 10032 (2015). Higher Adolescent Marijuana Usage In States That Legalized Pot