Journal scan

An urgent need to study effect of cannabis use

Rise in cannabis use in the US mirrored by fall in perception of harm.

Changes in the law on cannabis use in parts of the USA increase the need to examine the effects of the drug.

That is the conclusion from a data analysis from annual surveys covering the use of drugs and health between 2002 and 2014, published on The Lancet Psychiatry.

Possession of the drug for personal use is now legal, or effectively legal, in the states of Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington. It is also legal in the Netherlands and Uruguay.

A study led by Dr Wilson Compton of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Maryland looked at data from 596,500 adults over a 12-year period, quantifying the perceptions of harm and changes caused by the loosening of legislation.

Perception of harm

Over the timescale, marijuana use in the United States increased from 10.4% of adults to 13.3%, a rise of 10 million

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