In the United States, laws and attitudes toward the use of marijuana are changing. Twenty-three states now have medical marijuana laws, and marijuana use is higher in states with such laws than in other states. Four of these states have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. More Americans now favor legalization of marijuana use than in previous years. Further, fewer Americans view marijuana use as risky, although studies have shown that use or early use of marijuana is associated with increased risk for many outcomes, including cognitive decline, psychosocial impairments, vehicle crashes, emergency department visits, psychiatric symptoms, poor quality of life, use of other drugs, a cannabis-withdrawal syndrome, and addiction risk. Further, marijuana use disorders (abuse or dependence) are associated with substantial comorbidity and disability and are consequently of substantial public health concern.
So begins a new paper looking at an old question: how does drug legalization affect use and misuse?
This week’s Reading: “Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013” by Deborah S. Hasin et al., just published online (and ahead of print) by JAMA Psychiatry.
You can find the paper here:
Columbia University’s Hasin and her co-authors have picked a timely topic. Here’s a quick summary: as laws and public attitude have shifted, looking at U.S. survey data, they conclude that marijuana use has sharply increased. Continue reading