Medical Marijuana Doesn't Prompt Kids To Smoke Pot, Study Finds
More kids are using pot, but that doesn't have anything to do with medical marijuana legalization, according to a just released study.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Denver looked at data from 1993 to 2009 and found that there's no evidence linking prescription pot to increased hard or soft drug use in high school students, including alcohol -- in fact, sometimes there's a negative correlation.
"There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is finding its way into the hands of teenagers, but there's no statistical evidence that legalization increases the probability of use," Daniel I. Rees, University of Colorado Denver economist and study author, said in a statement.
Benjamin Hansen, University of Oregon assistant economics professor and D. Mark Anderson, Montana State University assistant professor of economics, are also paper co-authors.
The team looked national data from the Youth Risky Behavior Survey (YRBS) for a time period during which 13 states -- such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington -- gave the greenlight to medical marijuana.
Now, this kind of weed is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia and legislation is pending in seven more.
Said Hansen: "This result is important given that the federal government has recently intensified its efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries...in fact, the data often showed a negative relationship between legalization and marijuana use."
Anderson's summary of their findings?
"We are confident that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase when a state legalizes medical marijuana."
Remember that concerns over teen drug have grown.
Much of this worry stems from a 2011 report "Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use." According to this University of Michigan survey of 46,700 students, weed use by 10th and 12th graders has gone up in the last three years, "with roughly one in 15 high school seniors smoking marijuana daily or near-daily."
And the Associated Press wrote about parents' discomfort when it comes to giving their kids "the talk."
Stats also suggests that more kids are smoking pot than tobacco cigarettes.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.
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