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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

...

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

effects of cannabis

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 people, while the perception of harm from smoking marijuana once or twice a week fell from 50.4% to 33.3%.

Marijuana use disorders in adults remained stable at about 1.5%.

‘The study of marijuana-use disorders is urgently needed because of increasing marijuana legalisation in multiple jurisdictions, risk of psychiatric disorders and deleterious effects of marijuana exposure,’ concluded Dr Compton, adding that increased usage and a fall in harm perception suggested a need for more risk education.

 

Compton WM et al (2016) Marijuana use and use disorders in adults in the USA, 2002-14: analysis of annual cross-sectional surveys. The Lancet Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30208-5

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