Meta-Analysis: Studies Refute Claims That Medical Cannabis Access Encourages Teen Use

The enactment of statewide laws regulating the use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with increased marijuana use among young people, according to a review of relevant studies published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

Investigators from Columbia University, the RAND Corporation, the University of California at Davis, and the Boston School of Public Health reviewed 11 studies developed from four ongoing national surveys. The studies were published between the years 1991 and 2014. None of the studies identified any significant changes in youth use patterns that could be attributable to changes in marijuana’s legal status.

Authors concluded: “[A]ll estimates of pre–post changes in past-month marijuana use within MML (medical marijuana law) states from these studies were non-significant. … In summary, current evidence does not support the hypothesis that MML passage is associated with increased marijuana use prevalence among adolescents in states that have passed such laws.”

One of the study’s senior authors, Dr. Deborah Hasin, further stated in an accompanying press release, “For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens’ use of the drug.”

The findings are consistent with those of numerous prior studies, including a federally funded 2015 study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry that assessed marijuana use patterns of over one-million adolescents in 48 states. That paper concluded, [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded.”

Separate studies report that teens’ use of marijuana and access to cannabis have declined significantly over the better part of the past two decades – during the same time that the majority of states enacted medical marijuana access programs. Data from states that regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis similarly fail to report any associated uptick in either youth use or marijuana access.

Text of the study, “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” is not yet available online.

13 thoughts

    1. True.
      They should really change the age too, as at 18 you are viewed as an adult. I believe you should be allowed to drink at that age too… as well as be allowed to smoke pot.

  1. Why do the words “meta analysis” look so initimidating? Before I understood the obvious, that it was just peer reviewed from various institutions I was like “Oh no! Not the meta analysis! Will I have to do math?”

    Sorry, so yeah, Kevin Sabet, Patrick Kennedy and the Sessions crime family can go suck it because teens aren’t bogartin all the weed now that states have legal “responsible adult” markets. (Probably because we’re discussing “meta analysis” in our boring adult weed circles… lol… sorry Paul. We just aint hip with them high school kids anymore…)

    Those of us who smoked weed in our teens before 1996 and California got the legal joint rolling remember the rebel thrill of defying our parents and adult society. That was the point. Well, that and learning how to roll a jay on our favorite vynil record cover. (That’s right! No NORML curved papers back then! Had to learn how to roll a boat!)

    Now teenagers have a whole new world of problems to deal with. Hell, they’re just trying not to get caught in a spray of bullets on their way to Biology class. Or they just need to recover from PTSD because our treasonous President and the NRA want to give their teacher a loaded weapon. That gives a whole new meaning to “Julian, I need to talk to you after class.” I’d be like “$#!+!, bro, don’t leave me! This bi+€# gotta GUN!”

    And I thought getting a concussion in High School football without a medical professional was enough reason to let High Schoolers go to School High!

    1. Julian, your comment got me thinking about the various ways I have seen people roll joints. I never made the boat with my papers. I always just rolled it up like a cigarette and picked the stuff hanging off the ends. Ready! But I have friends who only make the boat or use blunts. One good thing about rolling joints is you have something left over – a nice roach! I remember Keith talking about this some years ago. If I recall correctly he is a joint roller, not a pipe smoker, and one of the reasons is that you always have something left over. If things go dry you can get into your roach stash. It’s better than scraping your pipe or dry hitting that bad boy which is itself better than nothing.

      1. Dear @SAFE: how to Have Something Left Over without rolling a Hot burning overdose monoxide J to blast away $5-worth in minutes:
        1. Sift herb through 1/16-inch screen strainer to maximize particle surface area for vaping. (Save stems to grind into your next nutrismoothie.)
        2. Load 25 mg (1/40 gram) into quarter-inch-diameter screened crater of flexdrawtube oneheater (not a Big Pipe which you seem to be saying wastes your herb worse than a J).
        3. Easy-Learn, Heat-not-Burn Vapetoke Technique: Hold light low below, suck smooooooooth, slow, don’t glow till after 9-19 seconds or so.
        4. Breathe 30 warm wet W’s in and out of a Breathbonnet (bread bag or equivalent).
        All within the price of one gram you’ll have 39 more tokes left over for whenever appropriate.

      2. Yes, indeed, Safe, to each his (or her) own. Fortunately, many of us no longer have to worry about scarcity like the old days. I can hold on to a gram of Lemon haze or Barry White for months with the stuff we’re getting now. I mostly smoke out of a pipe, not because I prefer to, but because the art of the stash has to be smell proof and well hidden in transport. If we so much carry a hunting rifle and a joint anywhere noticeable in my vehicle thats a federal felony. Sealed glass containers and pipes are virtual requisites until we make some reasonable, responsible transportation of marijuana laws in Texas.

        Then theres the little joint police… my kids… that I have to protect from possession. Incidentally, be polite to an officer (if any still care about mj possession) and refuse to allow consent to search. Without a warrant, file what is called a Motion to Supress Evidence. Better yet, don’t get caught with a roach in the ash tray.

        So poker night, a bbq or a bon fire with my friends and brothers are the only time I get the privilege of passing the sacred herb around in a hemp-rolled paper. Soon enough, I intend to change that in my state, and all states. Because whats good for us may not always be good for everyone, we need sensible regulation to inhale our joints, bowls or flex-tube one-hitters in peace.

  2. The age to legally purchase marijuana should be 18.

    And I don’t just say that because at 18 we can buy an AR-15, although that’s a good reason. (Just license guns and ammunition and require a gun safety expert and a nurse practitioner that can recommend medical marijuana strains and appropriate support groups when disconnected purchasers of guns are identified. I’ve already communicated this idea with Beto Orourke’s campaign manager. She liked it).

    The reason I feel 18 is the right age for legal marijuana purchase is:

    1). Got to get ready for college. Heck, alcohol should be legal with limits at 18 so people don’t die from alcohol poisoning once theyre out of their parent’s supervision. Mj can help Normlize the transition. The more normal we make weed the less interested teens are in consuming it anyway. This study proves that.

    2). If we can take a concussion in football or join the military and die for our country we can smoke a joint. Educational programs can help teach young adults to consume marijuana early before class with sports and exercise, abstain during studies, allow a creative, reflective toke at lunch in the afternoon, then another period of abstention during afternoon work hours. ROTC can help teach gun safety during study hours. Where I went to High School at Wilson in DC there’s a shooting range under the football field built in the 40’s as a nuclear fall out shelter, complete with secret tunnel to the middle school. A single-shot rifle and a responsible adult role model can go a long way to teach a young man safety values. Just don’t arm all teachers. THAT is stupid.

    3). AP Biology high school classes must start including the endocannabinoid system in textbook curiculum. Seniors consuming cannabis could study strains in class. Otherwise we’re sending young adults to med school like mechanics without any diagnostics training. And THAT is stupid.

    1. I would ban all police and civilians from weapons of war, including the AR-15. Short of that, marijuana should be treated like coffee (it’s safer than coffee), no age limit needed. Little kids don’t need to be drinking lots of coffee, but just like with weed, we don’t need no stinking cops involved. (“I’m sorry Sir, but that’s just too much coffee! Please put your hands behind your back, Sir!”)

      In practice… For harm reduction, and political compromise: 21 years old for the AR-15 (unless you’re military) and 18 for pot.

    2. Trump’s all like “Arm the teachers” and we’re like “That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard” and Trump’s like “I didn’t say arm ALL the teachers, just the best shooters” and we’re like “What’s stopping any of them from picking up an AR-15, right freakin now?!” —- no, man, just get that orange fucker off the TV set, I can’t take it anymore.

    3. Julian,
      The second amendment, the right to bear arms for the purposes of an organized militia, really should not apply to traitors against the USA.

      Anyone who, say, collaborated with a hostile foreign power like Russia in order to tilt an American Election into the hands of a Putin-installed operative, would be a text-book example of a traitor; such an individual is not entitled to second amendment rights, and should have their guns taken away immediately by legitimate law enforcement officials.

      Like Trump, for example! No fucking way he should ever be allowed to own a gun.

      Or a nuclear weapon. Stupid fucking Republicans.

      That’s a good goddamn reason to take away all Republicans’ guns: their support for Trump makes them co-conspirators, and traitors themselves; traitors don’t get to walk around America with guns, shooting whoever they want. Do they?

      (Plus they voted for Trump, which makes them too stupid to own a firearm, in any case.)

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