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
According to data collected by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, New Englanders are among the nation's top marijuana users in the country. See how the indivdual states compare in the slides below:
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- PODCAST: Are Medical Marijuana Users in RI Risking Their Jobs?
- Jared Moffat: Now is the Right Time for RI to Regulate Marijuana
- Will Rhode Island Be The Next State To Legalize Marijuana?
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- Legalized Marijuana in Jeopardy with Mattiello as Speaker
- NEW: New England NAACP Calls for Marijuana Legalization in RI
- PODCAST: The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State
- Legalized, Taxed Marijuana Would Generate .1% of RI Budget
- NEW: Patrick Kennedy in the Middle of Super Bowl Marijuana Fight
- PODCAST: Will RI Be The Next State To Legalize Marijuana?
- Marijuana Use in the New England States
- NEW: RI Legalization Bill Would Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol
- State Report: Marijuana Legalization Bill + Tax Hike Proposal
- Are Medical Marijuana Users in Rhode Island Risking Their Jobs?
- The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State
- NEW: RI to Introduce Marijuana Regulation + Taxation Bill
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- Do You Favor Legalized Marijuana and Taxation in Rhode Island?
- The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on RI’s College Campuses
- New England States With The Highest Marijuana Arrest Rates