California had higher use rates than other early-legal states when it legalized medical marijuana, so its medical marijuana law may have had little effect, researchers wrote.
The increase in illicit marijuana use and marijuana use disorders were 1.4 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively, in states that had legalized medical marijuana, compared with states that had no MMLs.
Study co-author Deborah Hasin, Ph.D., of the Mailman School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in NY, and colleagues say that their findings suggest that changing state marijuana laws may have serious consequences for public health. That policy change boosted medical marijuana patient applications from 500 per month to more than 10,000 per month.
The study was published April 26 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The researchers said that in states that haven't legalized medical marijuana, the rate of illegal use among respondents rose from 4.5 percent to 6.7 percent during the time period.
The study included survey data analysis from 118,497 adults completing the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (1991-1992), the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (2001-2002) or the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (2012-2013).
During the time periods, the rates of illegal marijuana use increased in all 39 states.
In other words, the rates of illegal marijuana use increased more quickly in states with medical marijuana laws, the researchers said.
In particular, the biannual poll conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed that teen marijuana use fell dramatically in Colorado after the state opened its recreational marijuana market.
Marijuana legalization laws don't appear to increase the use of the drug among teenagers.
Researchers found that illegal use of marijuana and rates of cannabis use disorder rose to a greater extent in US states that adopted laws legalizing marijuana for medical purposes than in states that didn't adopt such laws.
"Medical marijuana laws may benefit some with medical problems".
While the researchers don't take any position on whether medical marijuana should be legal, they say this is an important topic to study. This leaves tourists with nowhere to consume the plant and given the fact Nevada hosts one of the country's favorite tourist destinations, Las Vegas, it is wise to think about this accommodation.
Most recent research has concluded that marijuana legalization laws do not prompt an increase in use of the drug by teens. Revenue from marijuana sales goes towards various programs in the state, from school construction to public health initiatives.
In 1991, no Americans lived in states with medical marijuana, but by 2012, more than one-third lived in states that had accepted medical pot.
Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, agreed that differences in state laws matter, including how many dispensaries are allowed under the law and how tightly they are regulated. "The impact could be very different in different places due to the implementation of the laws".