Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Youths Use

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   Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Youths Use

Posted by CN Staff on June 17, 2015 at 06:55:12 PT
By Benedict Carey 
Source: New York Times 

USA -- Marijuana use did not increase among teenagers in the states in which medical marijuana has become legal, researchers reported Monday. The new analysis is the most comprehensive effort to date to answer a much-debated question: Does decriminalization of marijuana lead more adolescents to begin using it?The study found that states that had legalized medical use had higher prevailing rates of teenage marijuana use before enacting the laws, compared with states where the drug remains illegal. Those higher levels were unaffected by the changes in the law, the study found.
The report, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, covered a 24-year period and was based on surveys of more than one million adolescents in 48 states. The research says nothing about the effect of legalizing recreational use, however.A primary concern on both sides of the debate over medical marijuana has been that loosening marijuana restrictions might send the wrong message to young people, and make the drug both more available and more appealing. Teenagers who develop and sustain a heavy, daily habit increase their risk of having cognitive difficulties later on, several studies now suggest.Previous research on usage trends in the wake of the laws has been mixed, some reporting evidence of an increase among adolescents and others — including two recent, multistate studies — finding no difference. The new analysis should carry far more weight, experts said, not only because of its size and scope but also because the funders included the National Institute of Drug Abuse, whose director has been outspoken about the risks of increased use.“We have a war going on over marijuana, and I think both sides have been guilty at times of spinning the data,” said Dr. Kevin Hill, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard and director of the substance abuse consultation service at McLean Hospital. “It’s nice to have a scientifically rigorous study to guide policy.”Dr. Hill, author of the book “Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth About the World’s Most Popular Weed,” said this study was about as definitive as could be expected.Researchers opposed to legalizing marijuana, for medical or other purposes, disagreed, saying the study would have to go further to be convincing.“Medical marijuana laws vary drastically across the U.S. and often take years to be implemented, so what we need to see is the longer-term effects of these laws and the accompanying commercialization efforts, which this study does not do,” said Kevin Sabet, a former Obama administration adviser and president of the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, which opposes legalization.In the study, a research team led by Deborah Hasin of Columbia University analyzed data from a large, continuing University of Michigan survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, asking about their use of a variety of drugs, including alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.The team focused on responses to several questions in particular, including those asking about use within the last 30 days and frequency of use. The researchers adjusted the data for factors known to correlate with marijuana use, like gender, education level of parents, and whether a school was urban or rural.The overall rate of use among teenagers in states that passed laws was 16 percent, compared with 13 percent in those that had not, the analysis found. The researchers then compared samples of teenagers before and after laws passed in specific states: for example, before and after August 2013 in Illinois, and before and after April 2007 in New Mexico.“We showed no hint of an increase at all after the laws were passed,” Dr. Hasin said.The University of Michigan surveys have found that marijuana use among teenagers has been generally on the rise, in contrast to trends in alcohol, opioid and nicotine use — and perceptions of marijuana’s health risks are steadily shrinking.Those risks are probabaly small for occasional users who are adolescents, most experts say. But heavy, daily users who start young are at risk of blunting their mental acuity over time, several studies have found, because of biological and social factors that are not yet understood.The research group is planning to study the effect on usage trends when recreational marijuana is legalized, as in Colorado.Correction: June 17, 2015 An article on Tuesday about a study of marijuana use by teenagers misspelled the surname of a former Obama administration adviser and president of the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. He is Kevin Sabet, not Sabett.A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2015, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Medical Use Doesn’t Raise Youth Rates, Study FindsSource: New York Times (NY)Author: Benedict CareyPublished: June 16, 2015Copyright: 2015 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on November 18, 2015 at 11:15:21 PT
Vested interests
Canada should take its time on legalizing pot, addiction experts say
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Comment #9 posted by John Tyler on June 20, 2015 at 08:04:07 PT
youth II
I knew lots of kids that came to college that were already quite “experienced” from their high school days. They were bright, intelligent, articulate, and eager to learn. They graduated from college and went on to have successful lives. None of them became lazy, crazy, or stupid as the prohibitionists claimed.
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on June 19, 2015 at 11:40:01 PT
Comment #7 Here's a Shorter Link
Denver implements urban farming program, allowing residents to sell produce in front yard stands. 6/19/2015. by Julie Wilson staff writer, NaturalNews .com Could it be the cannabinoids changing people's minds?FoM, feel free to delete the link in comment #7. I thought it would break because of the slashes. My bad.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on June 19, 2015 at 11:18:01 PT
Could It Be the Cannabinoids Changing Minds? 
Denver implements urban farming program, allowing residents to sell produce in front yard stands.
by Julie Wilson staff writer
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by The GCW on June 18, 2015 at 20:19:24 PT
RE-legalizing cannabis is good for the economy.
Denver sees record breaking tourism, spending in 2014"The jump in tourism is attributed to marketing initiatives."-0-At least some of the increase must be attributed to Colorado RE-legalizing cannabis. Ya think?Once cannabis is RE-legalized through out America, Denver may not get as much attention and visitors.Would that influence Denver to be less honest and tell the rest of the country that RE-legalizing cannabis is bad news just to keep the business???
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on June 18, 2015 at 12:00:35 PT
Another POLL
POLL:Do you support a proposal to legalize marijuana consumption in commercial establishments in Denver such as a bars and clubs?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on June 17, 2015 at 23:45:32 PT
Don't forget pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers! Prescription drugs. I'm sure those are all wondeful, healing substances to fragile developing brains. Let's all add a big tablespoon of pure Roundup to our chocolate milk now!
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on June 17, 2015 at 23:43:28 PT
the youth
So, even though we have dozens of studies showing cannabis to be healing and protective to nerve tissuesÉ..the dangers of cannabis and the effect on the developing brain are "not understood". Right. Studies "suggest" there *might* be a danger to adolescent brains. Why are we still just "suggesting" this and not "proving" it after 40 years of funding studies to look for this mysterious toxicity, that strikes only homo sapiens within a certain 5-year age span, and no other animals?I wonder what television does to developing brains? Computer use? junk food? Hormones and antibiotics in the food supply? Radiation from the nuke industry? 
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on June 17, 2015 at 08:01:16 PT

First time smoker at 17.
It was the summer of a 17 year old solider,stationed overseas in 1964, Me!I was a teen at a time when America had a disease called Cannaphobia. By the time I got back home in 1967, all my old school chums were "turning on" and smoking pot among highschool and college kid was so norm nobody paid any mind to it's use except to maybe step into a duchy circle and wait for a turn to have a hit. Strangers did this often where I lived in the summer of 1967, I lived on Leavenworth and Post Street. I spent my days and nights on Haight Street. I was found on the door stoop of 710 Haight Street hanging out with the Dead and other Musicians who were just being discovered at that time. But I digress, lol! My point is, I had no respect for the law as many youths today do not respect the law. Gee, go figure?I do not believe young people base what they do for fun or to relieve stress on the law, come on, 'scuss me while I lol over here.

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