CA Researchers to Study Effect of Cannabis on Young Adults
Researchers at Drexel University are studying the health and behavioral effects of medical marijuana use for young adults living in Los Angeles, and the study has recently been renewed for another five years. The project offers a unique opportunity to track how the state’s changing cannabis laws are impacting public health.
Through a series of interviews and surveys, the researchers have assessed volunteers’ drug usage, health and risk behaviors. The project was the first of its kind to look at the habits and medical outcomes of medical cannabis use within this age group. One goal was to reveal whether medical marijuana led to safer, more controlled use of the drug for patients when compared to non-patient users.
Now, following California’s legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2016 and sales in 2018, the National Institute of Drug Abuse awarded researchers $4.1 million to recruit new volunteers and continue tracking the first group of young adults.
“We’ll have four years of data prior to the change in California’s cannabis law, and four more years of data following, so we will have a comprehensive picture of how this policy change has affected the health and drug use of young people,” said Stephen Lankenau, a professor at Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the research project.
“Once cannabis became legal, a common thought pattern is that everyone is going to use it and bad things will happen,” he said. “What we’re interested in seeing is, how do rates of cannabis use among young people actually change following this legalization?”