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  • D.H. Reilly

States Where Medical Marijuana is Legal are Not Seeing Increased Cannabis Use

legalizing marijuana does not increase use

We know it’s frustrating that you can’t get a Kentucky Marijuana Card yet. We are also sure that is going to change soon, as all the dominoes continue to fall in medical marijuana’s favor.

One of those falling dominoes comes in the form of new information about marijuana’s safety and efficacy. As marijuana laws become more and more liberal, marijuana research has also increased, and that research continues to show that marijuana can be a safe and highly effective medicine.

For example, just last month, two different studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) debunked an old myth: That the creation of medical marijuana markets would lead to increased marijuana use among young people.

Instead, researchers are learning that medical use among adults doesn’t appear to be linked to abuse among teens, despite what cannabis critics have long claimed.

States with Medical Marijuana Markets are Seeing Decreases in Teen Use

One of the studies JAMA published last month not only failed to find a link between medical marijuana and increased teen use of the drug, but the researchers actually concluded that teen use declined after states’ established their medical marijuana markets.

And just so you know we’re talking about a study conducted by credible sources, the article was written by researchers from the University of Madrid, Spain, and San Diego State and Montana State Universities.

The findings indicated that “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 adult-use marijuana laws weren’t found to contribute to teen use either. Researchers came to these conclusions after reviewing surveys of teen drug use from 10 states that had passed adult-use laws. While the states didn’t see the decline that the medical marijuana states had seen, they did not see any increase in teen use either.

A Second JAMA Study from Last Month Reinforces these Findings

And while earlier studies have also indicated that teen use is unaffected by decriminalization of marijuana, it was unusual to see one medical journal publish two such studies in one month!

The second study, which was compiled by researchers from Columbia University, concluded “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, according to these researchers’ findings, having a medical marijuana market leads to increased use among adults when compared to rates of use before the market opened, but that increased adult use isn’t translating into increased adolescent use.

And both studies mirrored earlier reports that marijuana use among teens was at its lowest point for twenty years, despite the proliferation of medical and adult-use laws.

Adults are Using, but Not Abusing, Medical Marijuana

Furthermore, contrary to the latter study discussed above, other studies have concluded that adults’ use of marijuana is not increasing in states with medical marijuana laws, despite years of assurances from cannabis critics that anything other than strict prohibition would lead to increased use and abuse.

For example, the National Bureau of Economic Research, working with researchers from Harvard University, concluded that “more liberal marijuana laws have had ‘minimal impact’ on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption or crime rates.”

Despite Critics’ Claims, Medical Marijuana Hasn’t Proven to be a Danger

So for years critics have fought medical marijuana on the basis of claims that it would lead to increased marijuana use, increased crime, and increased use among young people. Those critics also claimed that medical marijuana would function as a gateway drug, and increased marijuana use would result in increased drug use across the board.

And not only have those predictions proven to be cries about the sky falling, but medical marijuana has continued to show it can actually contribute to alleviating some of those societal ills.

For example, research has shown that medical marijuana is associated with decreased use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. One study found that after only 30 days on the medication, medical marijuana users were less likely to report drinking over the previous month and week. Eight percent of those patients reported no drinking at all over the past month.

And it isn’t just alcohol. Harvard Medical School researchers have reported that opioid prescriptions dropped by an average of more than two million daily doses annually in states after medical marijuana legislation was passed, and that annual prescriptions declined by almost four million daily doses once dispensaries were active.

Medical marijuana has also helped millions of Americans to find relief. And with the continued hard work of advocates across the state, Kentuckians may soon be among those who are learning that medical marijuana is often even better than advertised.

Don’t Wait for Relief any Longer than Necessary

While it’s true that medical marijuana hasn’t come to Kentucky yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t take the first step towards getting ready for it right now!

If you reserve an evaluation today with one of our compassionate doctors, we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Kentucky’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.

Kentucky Marijuana Card’s mission is to help 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) 781-6360, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Kentucky Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!

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