A group of patients, caregivers, and medical professionals gathered at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to allow hearings on critical medical marijuana legislation.
Illicit use and use disorders increased in all 39 states studied during that time, but were 1.4 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively, in states with medical marijuana laws than those without.
Although medical marijuana laws may benefit some people, changes to state laws also may have negative consequences for public health, the researchers, led by Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City, wrote in the study.
Then, he said, officials could weigh the health benefits of medical marijuana to people like cancer patients who need the medication against the risks of increased use among the general population. "Children in other states are given an opportunity to thrive with the use of cannabis, which is often a safer and more effective medication".
If the USA population remained constant over that time period, the researchers calculate, medical marijuana laws could be linked to 1.1 million additional cannabis users and 500,000 extra people with cannabis use disorder nationwide.
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).
Yes, especially with other states enacting their own versions of legal medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana use is now legal in 29 states and Washington D.C.
In 1992, no Americans lived in states with medical marijuana laws.
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Eight of those states plus the district have also legalized the drug for recreational use.
"The early fear with the passage of these laws was that they would increase use among adolescents, but the studies are quite consistent that this did not happen", she said.
The current Nevada law allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and consume it in the privacy of their homes.
The Colorado Department of Revenue revealed in February marijuana dispensaries throughout the state sold roughly $1.3 billion worth of medical and recreational pot a year ago.
Those studies include one conducted in Colorado before and after that state passed its medical marijuana law.
For their study, Hasin and team investigated whether MMLs might be contributing to illicit use of the drug and marijuana use disorders.
Nonetheless, the question still remains as to why marijuana laws seem to have no impact on teens but do encourage increased use by adults.
Most recent research has concluded that marijuana legalization laws do not prompt an increase in use of the drug by teens.
But the authors of the study also note several limitations.
It should also be noted that requirements for a cannabis use disorder-a condition far less risky and prevalent than other kinds of drug and alcohol abuse-have changed since the three surveys were conducted.