Friday, November 04, 2011

Study: Legalizing medicinal marijuana doesn’t lead to drug use

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As always, leave it to actual, unbiased researchers to shatter all those myths and misconceptions ideologues like to spread about all the supposed societal ills, this time debunking the notion that medicinal marijuana is some sort of gateway to heavier drug usage:

Despite warnings from opponents of medical marijuana, legalizing the drug for medical purposes does not encourage teens to smoke more pot, according to new research that compared rates of marijuana use in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after the latter state changed its laws.

Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, but Massachusetts did not. "We wanted to pair these two states because they have so much in common culturally and geographically," says Dr. Esther Choo, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School and emergency medicine physician at Rhode Island Hospital.

Choo's analysis used data collected from 1997 to 2009 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The analysis involved nearly 13,000 youth in Rhode Island and about 25,000 in Massachusetts. In each state in any given year, the study found, about 30% of youth reported using marijuana at least once in the previous month.

In other words, while marijuana use was common, there was no significant difference in rates of pot use between the years before and after legalization in Rhode Island. "We found no effect of the policy change," says Choo.

Of course, this will only be surprising to those who haven’t been paying any attention to, well, basically any research on the matter at all, really.

(via The Agitator)