Legalizing Medical Marijuana Does Not Lead to Increased Use of Cannabis
Despite some of the talking points you’ve no doubt heard from opponents of medical marijuana, having the option to get an Alabama Marijuana Card isn’t likely to lead to increased marijuana use in the Yellowhammer State.
Cannabis critics have long claimed that legalization, either of medical or adult-use marijuana, would lead to increased use and abuse of the drug, especially among young people.
However, a recent study that debunks that talking point is just the latest in a series of studies showing that allowing suffering people to find relief with medical marijuana does not in turn lead to increased use among young people.
Medical Marijuana Markets May Lead to Decreased Use Among Teens
In fact, not only did the study find no link between the accessibility of medical marijuana and increases in marijuana use by teens, but the researchers found that medical marijuana markets may actually decrease abuse among young people.
By looking at surveys of drug use among teenagers from 10 states that had passed adult-use marijuana decriminalization, the researchers concluded that allowing adults to make their own choices about recreationally using cannabis did not in turn lead to increased use among teenagers, as cannabis critics have insisted for years would occur.
Even more encouraging, the authors concluded that passing medical marijuana laws was actually associated with decreased use among teens.
According to the researchers, “medical marijuana law adoption was associated with a 6 percent decrease in the odds of current marijuana use and a 7 percent decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use” among teens.
And if you’re worried about the reliability of the findings, the article was written by researchers from Montana State and San Diego State Universities as well as from the University of Madrid, Spain. It was also peer-reviewed and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
It’s Not the First Study to Find No Link Between Medical Marijuana and Teens. It’s Not Even the First That Month!
And this isn’t the only recent time that researchers failed to find the legendary link between adults using medicine and teens chasing highs. In fact, JAMA has published at least one other study that reported similar findings in September of 2021, the same month as the previous study was published.
This study was conducted by researchers from Columbia University, who concluded that “Research indicates that enactment of medical cannabis laws (MCLs) is associated with increases in the odds of past-year and daily cannabis use among adults aged 18 years or more, but no changes have been observed for adolescents between ages 12 and 17 years.”
In other words, the creation of a medical marijuana market by a state seems to increase the odds that an adult in that state will report increased marijuana use over the previous year, or increased use on a daily basis when compared to the state before legalization, but that those increases in use aren’t affecting teenagers.
These findings are consistent with earlier ones that found that marijuana use among teens was at its lowest point for twenty years, despite the spread of medical and adult-use markets.
Adults’ Use of Medical Marijuana Also Shows It’s About the Medicine, Not the High
Furthermore, other studies have concluded that medical marijuana laws don’t even increase use among adults.
For example, in a study conducted by researchers from varied backgrounds, including Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research, the findings indicated that “more liberal marijuana laws have had ‘minimal impact’ on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption or crime rates.”
Despite the years of crying wolf from cannabis critics, medical marijuana has not led to increased marijuana use, increased crime, or increased abuse by teens. Nor has medical marijuana acted as a gateway drug, increasing the use and abuse of other substances.
On the other hand, medical marijuana has been associated with decreased use and abuse of opioids and alcohol. One study found that after a month of medical marijuana use, 44% of participants reported drinking less alcohol over the course of 30 days, 34% reported drinking less on a weekly basis, and 8% reported no alcohol use at all.
And researchers at Harvard Medical School have reported opioid prescriptions dropped by an average of 2.21 million daily doses annually in states that merely implemented medical marijuana programs. And when marijuana dispensaries actually opened their doors in those states? Well then annual prescriptions declined by 3.74 million daily doses.
Medical marijuana has also helped millions of Americans to find relief. And soon, with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission already hard at work creating our own medical marijuana market, it will help thousands of Alabamians do the same.
Be One of the Alabamians Who Find Relief with Medical Marijuana
If you’ve been letting bad press and the stigmas surrounding marijuana keep you from finding out how it could help you ease your qualifying condition, why not start feeling better as soon as possible now that you know the truth?
Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Alabama’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your doctor virtually, using your computer or smartphone for a telemedicine appointment. Together, you and your doctor will discuss your condition, and whether medical marijuana might be right for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 833-781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
And don’t forget to check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.