Study finds legal cannabis laws impact teen use

June 27, 2017, The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
cannabis
Cannabis indica. Credit: Wikipedia

A new study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. The study will appear in the August issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

"This study was driven by two motivations— the need to understand if and how the shifting legal landscape of cannabis may affect kids, and the potential utility of as an epidemiological sampling method," says Jacob Borodovsky, a PhD candidate at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, and the lead author of the study. "If it is true that certain components of legalization change the way young people use cannabis, then we need to devote more resources to understanding the important consequences (good or bad) of the specific provisions included in the diverse cannabis laws that are emerging across the country."

Borodovsky and colleagues examined associations between provisions of legal cannabis laws (such as allowing dispensaries, home cultivation, etc.) and cannabis consumption patterns among youth using online surveys distributed through Facebook, which proved to be a reliable method for generating geographically diverse samples of specific subgroups of cannabis-using youth.

"Our data suggest a relationship between the degree of regulatory oversight of legal cannabis and kids' propensity for trying new ways of using cannabis," Borodovsky says. "I think we need to start having a broader national conversation about how best to design the production and distribution regulations for legal cannabis to mitigate potential public health harms."

As cannabis legalization rapidly evolves, in both medical and recreational usage, understanding the laws' effect on is crucial because this group is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of marijuana and possesses an inherent elevated risk of developing a cannabis disorder.

"Using social media to disseminate web surveys is a useful epidemiological research method. It allows us to quickly collect geographically diverse data on cannabis-related questions that aren't asked in the traditional federally-sponsored drug use surveys," Borodovsky says. "My hope is that we can use these and other types of results to create rational legal cannabis laws that are based on data rather than anecdotes."

Explore further: Do medical marijuana laws promote illicit cannabis use and disorder?

More information: Jacob T. Borodovsky et al, U.S. cannabis legalization and use of vaping and edible products among youth, Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.02.017

Related Stories

Do medical marijuana laws promote illicit cannabis use and disorder?

April 26, 2017
Illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in other states, according to new research at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health ...

Questions remain about the benefits and harms of cannabis

April 3, 2017
Despite dramatic changes in the legal landscape and usage rates of cannabis, evidence is still lacking regarding its potential health and therapeutic effects. Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and ...

Oregon allows sale of pot edibles, oils to general public

June 2, 2016
Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon may now legally sell edibles and extracts to recreational users who do not have a medical marijuana card.

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths

June 8, 2017
The regulatory approaches to marijuana and tobacco in the United States are on decidedly different paths and, according to researchers from the U.S. and Australia, neither side appears interested in learning from the other.

Germany expects cannabis-growing program to be going in 2019

March 3, 2017
German authorities say they expect to have a cannabis-growing program up and running in 2019 after the country approved legislation allowing some patients to get the drug as a prescription medication.

Genome-wide association study of cannabis

March 30, 2016
Cannabis dependence is a serious problem worldwide and it is of growing importance in the United States as marijuana becomes increasingly legal.

Recommended for you

Removing sweets from checkouts linked to dramatic fall in unhealthy snack purchases

December 18, 2018
Policies aimed at removing sweets and crisps from checkouts could lead to a dramatic reduction to the amount of unhealthy food purchased to eat 'on the go' and a significant reduction in that purchased to take home, suggests ...

Junk food diet raises depression risk, researchers find

December 18, 2018
A diet of fast food, cakes and processed meat increases your risk of depression, according to researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Children of problem drinkers more likely to marry someone with a drinking problem: study

December 18, 2018
Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according ...

Folate deficiency creates hitherto unknown problems in connection with cell division

December 17, 2018
Folate deficiency creates more problems in connection with DNA replication than researchers had hitherto assumed, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show in a new study. Once a person lacks folate, the damage caused ...

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

December 14, 2018
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

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.