The effect of medical marijuana legislation in the use of marijuana for adolescents has been strong argument.
The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry , is an analysis of data from more than one million American teenagers in the US from 1991 to 2014.
“Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that the use of marijuana by adolescents does not increase after a state legalizes medical marijuana,” said study author Dr. Deborah Hasin, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
So far, a total of 23 US states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that allows the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Here, the drug is usually prescribed for pain relief and treatment of other symptoms such as nausea and loss of appetite.
However, a number of adverse effects are associated with adolescent drug use, particularly with regular use. These include an impairment of short-term memory and coordination and, in the long term risks of psychiatric symptoms, cognitive disorders and substance abuse.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 19.8 million Americans reported that use each month. It is even known that younger children to consume; A recent study found that exposure to marijuana among children under 6 increased by 147.5% from 2006-13 .
The effect that have medical marijuana laws on the use of marijuana for teens is hotly debated. Some believe that such laws increase the use of adolescents, while others claim that the laws either have no effect or discourage their use.
No change in the use of marijuana teenagers legislation enacted after marijuana
To investigate, the researchers analyzed data from the National Monitoring the Future, which affects more than one million students ages 13-18 between 1991 and 2014. During this time of age, 21 of the 48 contiguous states approved laws allow the legal use of marijuana medicine.
The researchers found that while marijuana use among adolescents was higher in states that legalized medical marijuana than those who did not, the prevalence of marijuana use did not change after the introduction of these laws.
As these differences in marijuana use between states existed before the introduction of the legalization of medical marijuana, researchers suggest there may be other differences in the common factors, such as the rules surrounding the use of marijuana that they require further investigation.
“Since the use of marijuana early teens can lead to many adverse long-term outcomes, identifying the factors that really play a role in the use of adolescents should be a research priority,” he explains Dr. Hasin.
The researchers also suggest that their findings may not be generalizable to states that are considering, but have yet to approve medical marijuana laws. According to the researchers, these states tend to have a lower prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents and so the impact of the new legislation could differ.
In a related commentary, Dr. Kevin Hill of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, McLean Hospital, in Belmont, MA, wrote that the study highlights the importance of using the results of rigorous scientific research to shape health policies.
“[The] growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase the use of adolescents, and future decisions states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be guided by the least in part by this evidence, “he states.
Previously Medical News Today reported on a study that found success in preventing, reducing or delaying cannabis use among adolescents at risk of cognitive behavioral sessions .