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Study: Cannabis Laws Do Not Lead to Increased Teen Use

According to a June 10 study published in the journal Addiction, the enactment of medical cannabis laws is not associated with so-called cannabis use disorder. The researchers did conclude that while recreational cannabis laws are associated with increased cannabis consumption, it occurs primarily in adults 26 and older and not teenagers or children.

“Our findings do not show increases in prevalence of marijuana use among adults in states with medicalized [cannabis] programs,” the authors state. “Additionally, there were no increases in adolescent or young adult marijuana outcomes following [medical cannabis] passage, irrespective of program type.”

The study, led by researchers from Columbia University, contradict a recent, widely circulated paper published this month in JAMA Psychiatry which concludes that “the risk for cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a significantly greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in states that did not.”

There have been at least six additional studies dating back to 2012 that have concluded that medical cannabis laws have neither given rise to adolescent cannabis use nor problematic use by adults. One such study, from February 2016, found that while adult cannabis use increased 19 percent between 2002 and 2013, the researchers “didn’t notice any increase in marijuana-related problems.” That study was also published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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