Teenagers suffer higher rates of addiction when recreational cannabis is legalised – study
14/11/2019 Vita Molyneux
New research about legal cannabis has revealed a sobering statistic. In states where recreational marijuana has been legalised, teenagers are suffering higher rates of addiction.
The study of 505,796 respondents was carried out by researchers from New York University’s School of Medicine.
It compared use of the drug before and after legalisation in the US.
The proportion of people aged 12 to 17 who reported cannabis use disorder grew from 2.18 percent to 2.72 percent.
Chris Wilkins, a senior drug researcher at Massey University says the research is a “red flag”.
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“It’s an indicator, it’s definitely a red flag given the negative trajectories when people use cannabis at that young age,” he told The AM Show on Thursday.
He said although the data regarding young people and cannabis use was interesting, there are other aspects of the study people should pay attention to as well.
“One of the more solid findings is the actual increase in use and frequent use was in the 26-year-olds and older,” he said.
“It seems to be its more the adult people who would usually transition out of cannabis are now coming back in to the market now that it’s legal.”
The other side of the research mentions social justice objectives. Legalisation of cannabis has potential to provide important social benefits such as equity around criminal justice.
” There’s different objectives in legalisation for example reducing the black market, the gangs, becoming wealthy on cannabis, reducing arrest particularly for Maori,” said Wilkins.
The Study: Association Between Recreational Marijuana Legalization in the United States and Changes in Marijuana Use and Cannabis Use Disorder From 2008 to 2016
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 13, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3254
Question How did marijuana use and cannabis use disorder change during 2008 to 2016 after the legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States?
Findings: In this multilevel, difference-in-difference survey study with 505 796 respondents comparing marijuana use before and after the legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States, the proportion of respondents aged 12 to 17 years reporting cannabis use disorder increased from 2.18% to 2.72%, while the proportion of respondents 26 years or older reporting frequent marijuana use increased from 2.13% to 2.62% and those with cannabis use disorder, from 0.90% to 1.23%.
Meaning: This study’s findings suggest that possible increases in the risk for cannabis use disorder among adolescent users and increases in frequent use and cannabis use disorder among adults after legalization of recreational marijuana use may raise public health concerns and warrant ongoing study.
Conclusions and Relevance: This study’s findings suggest that although marijuana legalization advanced social justice goals, the small post-RML increase in risk for CUD among respondents aged 12 to 17 years and increased frequent use and CUD among adults 26 years or older in this study are a potential public health concern. To undertake prevention efforts, further studies are warranted to assess how these increases occur and to identify subpopulations that may be especially vulnerable.
For complete study to to JAMA-NETWORK