Adolescents in substance abuse programs report using other's med marijuana

August 8, 2012

A recent study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers shows that it is very common for adolescents in substance abuse treatment to use medical marijuana recommended to someone else (also known as "diverted" medical marijuana).

Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the CU School of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and her colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry looked at two treatment programs in the Denver metropolitan area. The were asked questions about their medical marijuana use. Out of 164 adolescents in the study, 121 or 73.8 percent reported using medical marijuana that had been recommended for someone else and they reported using medical marijuana a median of 50 times.

The study shows who used medical marijuana began using marijuana on a regular basis at a younger age compared with adolescent patients who did not use medical marijuana. The study also shows that adolescents who used medical marijuana had more /dependence and conduct disorder symptoms than adolescents who did not use medical marijuana. Additionally, most of the adolescent patients rated as having slight or no risk of harm to themselves.

Lead author Salomonsen-Sautel said "Many high-risk adolescent patients in have used diverted medical marijuana on multiple occasions, which implies that substantial diversion is occurring from registered users. Our results support the need for policy changes that protect against diversion of medical marijuana to adolescents."

Recent state and federal policy changes have allowed for more widespread legalized medical marijuana use in Colorado. At the time of the study, only 41 adolescents in the state held valid registry identification cards for medical marijuana. This suggests adolescents using medical marijuana are more likely to get it from adult registered users than from peers.

The study also calls into question the adequacy of the safeguards meant to prevent medical marijuana use by individuals to whom it was not recommended, adolescents in particular. As the study authors note, medical marijuana in Colorado is not handled like other medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Once approved for usage, individuals can purchase different amounts or even grow a personal supply.

Explore further: Adolescents in substance abuse treatment report using someone else's medical marijuana

More information: The article "Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment" by Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, Joseph T. Sakai, Christian Thurstone, Robin Corley, Christian Hopfer, appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 51, Issue 7 (July 2012)

Related Stories

Adolescents in substance abuse treatment report using someone else's medical marijuana

July 31, 2012
A study published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that diverted medical marijuana use among adolescents receiving treatment for substance abuse is very ...

Study finds legalizing medical marijuana does not increase use among youth

November 2, 2011
A Rhode Island Hospital physician/researcher will present findings from a study investigating whether legalizing medical marijuana in Rhode Island will increase its use among youths. Lead author Esther Choo, M.D., M.P.H., ...

Marijuana use may double the risk of accidents for drivers

October 6, 2011
Over 10 million people age 12 or older are estimated to have driven under the influence of illicit drugs in the prior year, according to a 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. While marijuana is the most commonly ...

Recommended for you

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills

October 18, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.