A new study by Rhode Island Hospital concludes that legalizing medical marijuana in that state did not increase use among youth.
Lead author Esther Choo, M.D., an emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island Hospital, said the study was performed to gauge the impact of medical marijuana legalization in the state in 2006, reports GoLocalProv.
Choo and her coauthors compared trends in adolescent cannabis use between Rhode Island and Massachusetts using a self-report called the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. The team included surveys completed between 1997 and 2009 in their study.
Based on their analysis of 32,570 students, they found that while marijuana use was common throughout the study period, there were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use between states in any 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,” Choo said.
The study was funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.
Dr. Choo will present the findings of the study on Wednesday (November 2) at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
Other researchers involved in the study with Choo include Nicholas Zeller, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School; Jason Mechan, Ph.D., of Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School; Kristin Rising, M.D., of Boston Medical Center and John McConnell, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University.