The legalization of medical marijuana in some states has raised concerns that it will increase the availability and appeal of the drug among youth, but new research suggests no such link.
For the study, Rhode Island Hospital researchers examined adolescent marijuana use in Rhode Island and Massachusetts between 1997 and 2009. Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006.
The investigators analyzed survey data from almost 33,000 students and found that marijuana use was common throughout the study period, and a comparison of the two states revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use in any given year.
"Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana; however, additional research may follow future trends as medical marijuana in Rhode Island and other states becomes more widely used," lead author and emergency medicine physician Dr. Esther Choo said in a news release from Lifespan, a health system in Rhode Island.