If there is one drug that seems to have attracted the most attention in the nation, it is marijuana. Teens use it and adults use it – it has almost become a norm for people to smoke pot, or at least try it. Some people like it and some people do not. Despite it being illegal, it has not stopped teens from being able to acquire or engage in selling the herb. People who are asked about the drug’s side effects usually say that the drug is attached to no real risk. There have been studies showing that it could be harmful to long-term health. There have also been studies that prove it has medicinal benefits. It sure beats taking pills, costs less and produces a much calmer feeling. Legalizing marijuana as a medical tool has been hotly debated throughout congress several times – there have been states who have already allowed it. Despite the fears of government officials, a study released on Monday has shown that medical marijuana laws do not mean more teen stoners.
One of the main reasons that some officials refuse to allow the use of medical marijuana is because it might send out a message to the younger generation that pot is okay. More lenient laws on the herb mean that the use among teens will increase, right? Wrong, a study conducted over 24 years published on the Lancet Psychiatry Medical Journal proved quite the contrary. Starting in 1991, researchers conducted annual surveys across the nation in over 400 schools and 48 states. Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 in eight, tenth, 12th grade were chosen randomly to fill out a questionnaire over marijuana consumption within the past 30 days.
In total, over 1 million students were surveyed. The results concluded that medical marijuana laws do not mean more teen stoners. There was no correlation that proved it to be true. Dr. Deborah Hasin, lead researcher in the study had mentioned that her results “provide the strongest evidence to date.”
What was found in the results was that recreational use of marijuana was already on the rise when the study had started. The states who did have medical marijuana legalized were slightly higher than states who did not. A further look into the study shows that those states already had increasing teen consumption of marijuana, but there proved to be no dramatic increase after laws were passed. What this suggested was that people in those states already had an accepting attitude for marijuana which may have influenced the passing of the law.
A poll done by CBS News showed that people today are more accepting of the herb then compared to results done in 1979. More than half of citizens asked had given a yes to full legalization. Doctors today are more open to using small amounts of it to give to their patients suffering from serious illnesses. The officials in government need to open their eyes to the evidence that has just been presented – medical marijuana laws do not mean more teen stoners.
Opinion By Frank Grados
CBS News – Poll: Support for Legal Marijuana Use Reaches All-Time High
The Lancet Psychiatry – Medical Marijuana Laws and Adolescent Marijuana Use in the U.S. (1991-2014)
Photo Courtesy of Wackystuff’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License