Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

The recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in 10 states and the District of Columbia. However, there are concerns surrounding the use of medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana among youth, as it has been established that repeated use in adolescence may result in long-term changes in cognitive function. In this study, researchers used data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (1993-2017), which are administered to US high school students, to study marijuana use before and after medical marijuana and/or recreational marijuana law adoption. Based on survey data on 1,414,826 students, researchers found that medical marijuana laws were not statistically associated with marijuana use or frequent marijuana use. Recreational marijuana laws were, in fact, associated with an 8% decrease in the odds of marijuana use (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.96) and a 9% decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.84 to 0.98). This study therefore shows that the legalization of medical marijuana has not encouraged use amongst youth. In addition, marijuana use in youth may, in fact, decline with legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

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