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A new study found marijuana legalization leads to more problematic use

The lead researcher says her study isn’t meant to advocate against marijuana legalization, but inform it.

A new study suggests that marijuana legalization leads to more cannabis use and perhaps addiction, particularly among adults 26 and older — highlighting a public health downside to a policy change that now 11 states and Washington, DC, have adopted and several others are considering.

The consequences could be serious. As Magdalena Cerdá, the study’s lead author, and her coauthors wrote in JAMA Psychiatry, “Although occasional marijuana use is not associated with substantial problems, long-term, heavy use is linked to psychological and physical health concerns, lower educational attainment, decline in social class, unemployment, and motor vehicle crashes.”

In short: If legalization only makes occasional use easier, that’s probably not a concern. But if legalization is leading to more use and addiction overall, that could cause real problems — for individuals and society at large — down the line.

Cerdá, who’s also a drug policy expert at New York University, cautioned that the results should not be taken to mean that legalization is a bad idea, but that the way the country legalizes should better take into account, and try to prevent, more problematic use and addiction. [Read More @ Vox]

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