Adolescent Use is not Increased by Cannabis Legalization

Does liberalization of cannabis policy influence levels of use in adolescents and young adults_ A systematic review and meta-analysis

In summary

A recent meta-analysis and systematic review has shown that the liberalization of cannabis use has not increased the amount of reported cannabis use in adolescents. There appeared to be a slight increase in adult cannabis use post-recreational cannabis legalization but not a significant amount to clearly report that trend. These reports may be skewed due to the social stigma that continues to surround cannabis use and therefore prevents participants from accurately reporting their history, but further research in an area where cannabis legalization is likely to occur but hasn’t yet would provide an interesting opportunity to confirm these findings. 

Medical cannabis use has been legalized in 33 states at the time of this blog and legalized for recreational use in 11 states, highlighting the importance of looking into current demographics and legal activity. Some studies have suggested a decrease in adolescent cannabis use as illicit dealers are replaced by state-regulated dispensaries implying that legalization and regulation may actually provide a safer environment for cannabis use and allow better prevention practices for adolescents. Further research would be needed to confirm these hypotheses and previous findings but prove promising for future legalization.  

The study is available for review or download here

View more studies like this in the CED Foundation Archive 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDAdolescent Use is not Increased by Cannabis Legalization

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