LEGALIZATION and the spread of cannabis for medical use did not increase the consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes among adolescents. To support a study led by Columbia University in New York, which dismantles one of the main arguments of opponents of the medical use of cannabis. The results have been published in Addiction.

In the US, 29 states have legalized medical cannabis (California first, in 1996). Among the main arguments of those who were and are opposed to this legalization is the idea that the legal diffusion of marijuana to treat pathologies may have as a side effect that of an increase in consumption among adolescents, the age in which they most frequently start using them. And this theme has become a focus of American public debate since 1996. To understand whether the fears of the opponents were well founded, the New York researchers carried out a review, or a meta-analysis, on a large sample of studies conducted on adolescents up to 2014. Based on the results, of the eleven studies, selected by the researchers starting from about 3000 researches on the topic,

For now, explained Deborah Hasin , of the Psychiatry department at Columbia University in New York, there is no basis for medical legalization to increase recreational consumption among adolescents. However, the result is not absolutely valid, as the expert explains. “We could discover – Hasin pointed out – that the situation varies as specialized markets for the medical marijuana trade develop and expand, and when states will legalize marijuana for recreational use”.

If for now there is no increase in the phenomenon among boys linked to therapeutic cannabis, there is not as much clarity as to the effect on consumption among adults. There are not many studies that allow us to compare the use data before and after the laws in question, the authors of the paper underline, while there is evidence that this use would be increased following the legalization for therapeutic purposes.

ARCHIVE – Therapeutic cannabis

Also on Addiction, moreover, an editorial addresses the problem of the increase of deaths due to opioid overdose – a growing problem according to the Cdc government centers, which controls public health – with over 63,000 deaths from this cause in 2016. The authors of the editorial hypothesize that medical marijuana can contribute to a reduction in the number of these deaths, providing a less risky and more organized method of pain management . Moreover, the authors explain, after the entry into force of these laws there would have been a decrease in the percentage of deaths due to opioid overdoses, even if the cause-effect link cannot be demonstrated and moreover this correlation has emerged from ecological studies , that is, they considered large geographical areas not taking into account the differences in the laws on therapeutic cannabis in the different states.