Medical Marijuana Sharing Amongst Adolescents

As medicinal marijuana is more available in some states, via legal marijuana dispensaries, a new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that it is very common for adolescents in substance abuse treatment programs to use medical marijuana recommended to someone else (also known as “diverted” medical marijuana).

The study, “Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment,” looked at two adolescent substance abuse treatment programs in the Denver metropolitan area. The study participants were asked questions about their medical marijuana use. Out of 164 adolescents in the study, 121 or 73.8 percent reported using medical marijuana that had been recommended for someone else and they reported using medical marijuana a median of 50 times.

The study shows adolescent patients who used medical marijuana began using marijuana on a regular basis at a younger age compared with adolescent patients who did not use medical marijuana. The study also shows that adolescents who used medical marijuana had more marijuana abuse/dependence and conduct disorder symptoms than adolescents who did not use medical marijuana. Additionally, most of the adolescent patients rated smoking marijuana as having slight or no risk of harm to themselves.

Lead author Salomonsen-Sautel said “Many high-risk adolescent patients in substance abuse treatment have used diverted medical marijuana on multiple occasions, which implies that substantial diversion is occurring from registered users. Our results support the need for policy changes that protect against diversion of medical marijuana to adolescents.”

Source for article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-08/uocd-ais080812.php

Study “Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment” by Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, Joseph T. Sakai, Christian Thurstone, Robin Corley, Christian Hopfer, appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 51, Issue 7 (July 2012), published by Elsevier.

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