Teen Marijuana Use Did Not Increase After Passage of Medical Marijuana Laws

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“medical marijuana : strains and varieties” by torbakhopper is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Deborah Hasin PhD
Department of Epidemiology in Psychiatry
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We began to think about this study after we published an earlier report (Hasin et al., The Lancet Psychiatry 2015) showing that after state medical marijuana laws (MML) were passed, U.S. teen marijuana use did not increase compared to the period before the laws were passed and to overall national trends. However, people continued to question whether MML led to teen increases in marijuana use. Therefore, in the present study, we combined findings from 11 large-scale national studies of teens to provide a more definite answer.

The findings were clear that teen marijuana use did not increase after passage of medical marijuana laws. Medical marijuana is widely available from stores like kush guys, yet despite this prevalence, there is no conclusive evidence of abuse. Rather the benefits are plain to see.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The findings are quite conclusive about the lack of teen increases in marijuana use after MML are passed. However, this does not detract from the need to address early teen use when it occurs, since it can be quite harmful.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Fewer studies of the effects of medical marijuana laws have been done in adults. Those that have been done suggest that rates of adult use and cannabis use disorder increase after passage of state medical marijuana laws. However, more studies on this are needed. In addition, the findings about medical marijuana laws may not apply to recreational marijuana laws, in either teens or adults. Many experts think that recreational laws will have stronger effects in teens and adults due to the greater efforts at commercialization. Therefore, studies of the effects of recreational marijuana laws are needed as well.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Surveys show that American teens and adults are increasingly likely to see marijuana use as harmless. While it’s clear that some adults can use marijuana without problems, some users do experience withdrawal, addiction or vehicle crashes. These risks need to be considered in order to have a balanced picture.


Sarvet AL, Wall MM, Fink DS, Greene E, Le A, Boustead AE, Pacula RL, Keyes KM, Cerda M, Galea S, and Hasin DS. Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/add.14136

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Last Updated on February 22, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD