Understanding the Impact of National and State Medical Marijuana Policies on Adolescents

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Purpose of Review This article provides an overview of current federal, state, and relevant international “medical marijuana” policies. We also describe the impacts of “medical marijuana” policy on adolescents’ use of marijuana and other substances.

Recent Findings Evidence on the medical benefits of marijuana in adolescents is limited in the context of risks for marijuana-related harm. The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is associated with a decrease in marijuana risk perception in older adolescents. Marijuana-related harms have increased in states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes or adult use.

Summary The long-term impacts on adolescents of marijuana policies for medical purposes or adult use remain poorly understood. Marijuana policy changes that liberalize access may increase rates of youth marijuana use. There is an important need for high quality research and open sharing of best practices regarding marijuana policies.


Last updated on 02/21/2018