Medical cannabis being displayed at the Clio, Michigan Cannabis Cup 2016.

TG Branfalt Jr.

Study Suggests MMJ Programs Not Being Abused

According to a study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal, children who live in states with medicinal marijuana programs are not more likely to use cannabis. The study did find, however, that people over the age of 25 did use the drug more after the laws were enacted.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that despite the fears expressed by some researchers, physicians and laypeople, medicinal cannabis is not easily available — and is not being diverted — to young people. The authors reviewed the results of national surveys in Illinois, Arizona, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island and New Jersey, which included more than 53,800 people ages 12 and up, between 2004 and 2013.

“The laws seem to be working as expected with little unintended consequences for youth and young adults to date,” she said in a HealthDay report. “It’s harder for [young people] to access it for recreational purposes and most of the medical indications of marijuana are for ailments that typically affect a larger proportion of older adults.”

The researchers found that 26 to 39-year-olds who reported using cannabis within the past month grew, but not significantly, after the laws were passed — from 9 percent prior to the enactment of the laws to 10 percent after the law’s passage. The percentage of people aged 40 to 64 who used cannabis within the month after reforms were passed climbed slightly higher, from 4.5 percent to 6 percent. Less than 1 percent of people over the age of 65 said they used cannabis within the last month after medical marijuana laws were passed.

Four more states will voting on medical cannabis programs in next month’s general election.

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