Study: Legalized Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Teen Use

One of the most damaging claims of those who are against legalization of medical marijuana or even decriminalization is that doing so would make it easier for teens to get their hands on marijuana. Saying something will corrupt children has always been a powerful argument. But there is also substantial evidence to suggest marijuana legalization for adults does not have a negative effect on most teens.

teeninlove.jpgAccording to a recent article from Forbes, a new study finds legalization of medical marijuana has not led to an increase in teen usage. The study was just published in The Lancet psychiatry journal. With it, researchers looked at the differences between marijuana use in teens in the 21 states that have medical marijuana legislation on the books and those states that do not. As it turns out, there was no significant difference in marijuana use in the two groups of states.

The researchers utilized over 24 years of data from more than 1 million teens from the 48 contiguous states in the continental United States. The study focused on marijuana use in teens ranging in ages from 13 to 18. Researchers from Columbia University’s epidemiology department did find that, while there is no increase in teen usage in states after legalization, there was a higher frequency of teen usage in these states prior to legalization, as compared to states that have not legalized medical marijuana, but there was no significant change following legalization.

While scientists are concerned with long tern effects of smoking marijuana, as our Los Angeles medical cannabis attorneys can explain, many patients who take the drug for medicinal reasons do not ever smoke marijuana. Many medical cannabis patients choose to ingest edible forms of marijuana, including baked goods, oil extracts and other foods, and do not have to worry about the potentially dangerous effects associated with smoke inhalation. It should also be noted, the legal medical marijuana sold in dispensaries across Southern California is of a very high quality and potency, and not at all similar to the low quality and impure marijuana grown in Mexico and sold on the streets of states where medical marijuana is not legal.

It is also important to look at things in their proper context. There is no question that many prescription drugs made by large pharmaceutical companies have very dangerous side effects, including death, and many lack any real long term safety data due to loopholes in the United States Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. In other words, while people are quick to talk about the harmful side effects of smoking marijuana, nobody seems all that concerned about the many pharmaceutical commercials that have a soothing voice tell us quickly how their product has been shown to lead to everything from a mild rash to death.

While there is no question that public health officials should be concerned with young children smoking marijuana they bought on the street, public awareness campaigns and outreach programs offer the best chance to reduce the numbers of teens who smoke marijuana. There has been a great deal of success with these methods in reducing the number of teens who smoke tobacco, so there is no reason to think they won’t have equal success when it come to teen marijuana use.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Legalized Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Teen Usage, Study Finds , June 15, 2015, Forbes
More Blog Entries:
Marijuana Legalization Legislation Pending in GA, MA, OH, TN, VT and TX, March 17, 2015, Riverside Marijuana Lawyer Blog