RI Hospital: Legalizing Med. Marijuana Does Not Increase Youth Use
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Esther Choo, M.D., M.P.H., will present the findings of the study at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition on November 2.
“Any time a state considers legalizing medical marijuana, there are concerns from the public about an increase in drug use among teens,” said principal investigator Choo, an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “In this study, we examined 20 years worth of data, comparing trends in self-reported adolescent marijuana use between states with medical marijuana laws and neighboring states without the laws, and found no increase in marijuana use that could be attributed to the law.”
Choo, Researchers on Findings
Choo and her coauthors explain that the state-level legalization of medical marijuana has raised concerns about increased accessibility and appeal of the drug to youth, who are most vulnerable to public messages about drug use and to the adverse consequences of marijuana. Their study was performed to assess the impact of medical marijuana legalization in Rhode Island in 2006. The researchers compared trends in adolescent marijuana use between Rhode Island and Massachusetts using a self-report called the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. In their study, they included surveys completed between 1997 and 2009.
Based on their analysis of 32,570 students, they found that while marijuana use was common throughout the study period, there were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use between states in any year.
Choo says, "Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana; however, additional research may follow future trends as medical marijuana in Rhode Island and other states becomes more widely used."
The study was funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Choo's principal affiliation is Rhode Island Hospital, a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island, and direct financial and infrastructure support for this project was received through the Lifespan Office of Research Administration. Choo also holds an academic appointment, assistant professor of emergency medicine, at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Other researchers involved in the study with Choo include Nicholas Zaller, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School, Jason Mechan, Ph.D., of Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School, Kristin Rising, M.D., of Boston Medical Center, and John McConnell, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University.
Related Slideshow: Marijuana Use in the New England States
- Local Pushback Against Worcester Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Why Is Medical Marijuana So Popular In Worcester?
- The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State
- Marijuana Use in the New England States
- Will Massachusetts Be The Next State To Legalize Marijuana?
- The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on College Campuses in Mass.
- Mass Medical Society: New Medical Marijuana Regulations “Raise Concerns”
- Will New Findings on Marijuana Dangers Hurt Legalization Efforts?
- Tufts Vet School Denies Interest In Medical-Marijuana Profiting
- 14 Non-Profits Seek Medical Marijuana License for Worcester County
- Medical Marijuana: 14 To Watch in Central Mass in 2014
- NEW: Mass State Rep. Binienda Pushes For Tighter Marijuana Laws
- Medical Marijuana Users in Massachusetts Could Lose Their Jobs
- Can MA Regulate Marijuana When it Can’t Regulate Tobacco?
- NEW: MA Medical Society Testifies on Medical Marijuana Regulations
- NEW: Mass. Awards 20 Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses
- Central MA Medical Marijuana Race Narrows to 13 Players
- Wayne Reiss: Medical Marijuana and the New Reefer Madness
- NEW: RI to Introduce Bill for Marijuana Regulation + Taxation
- Home Delivery an Option for Medical Marijuana Patients in MA
- What Would You Rather Have In Your Town: Casino or Medical Marijuana?
- New England States With The Highest Marijuana Arrest Rates
- Legalized, Taxed Marijuana Would Generate .1% of MA Budget
- See How Legalized Marijuana Would Impact New England State Budgets