Drexel plans first large-scale study on young adults’ marijuana use

marijuana
The five-year study of medical marijuana use among young adults is being funded by a National Institutes of Health grant. Credit: Metro file photo

Drexel University received a $3.3 million National Institutes of Health grant to fund a five-year study investigating medical marijuana use among young adults between the ages of 18 and 26, according to a press release issued late last week.

Titled “Medical Marijuana, Emerging Adults & Community: Connecting Health and Policy,” the study, which began July 1 under the supervision of Drexel Public School of Health associate professor Stephen Lankenau, is the first large-scale NIH-funded research project into young adult marijuana use.

That’s because federal funding of medical marijuana studies to date has been minimal – the drug remains under federal law a Schedule 1 controlled substance, a category that also includes heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

As a result, most existing marijuana research studies are either relatively small or involve secondary data analysis without the direct recruitment and study of medical marijuana users, according to a release from Drexel University.

Lankenau said he hopes the Drexel study’s findings will eventually guide local, state and national medical marijuana policies to create the most positive health outcomes for young adults and communities.

During the study, researchers will attempt to determine the impact of Los Angeles’ medical marijuana policies on young adults’ physical and psychological health.

They’ll be investigating whether young adults’ intensity of marijuana use, as well as attendant abuse of alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs, differs depending on whether they are using the drug under a doctor’s supervision, in such areas where medical marijuana is legal.

“Dispensaries are a relatively new and unusual institution, and they haven’t been studied much,” Lankenau said in a statement.

“One study hypothesis is that dispensaries, which often provide social support in addition to medical marijuana, may provide the basis for better physical and psychological outcomes for medical marijuana users, compared to non-medical users who purchase the drug on the black market.”

Beginning in the fall, Lankenau, along with co-investigator Ellen Iverson at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, will recruit 380 young medical marijuana patients and young non-medical marijuana patients.

Baseline interviews and surveys are expected to be completed by early next year, with participants then completing annual followup interviews for three years.

“The young adults we recruit into this study represent an important group,” Lankenau said in a release.

“This population will have many years of their lives ahead to experience the consequences, whether positive or negative, of policies that allow for medical marijuana use.”

Researchers said the study was borne from the preliminary discoveries of an earlier NIH-funded project that found Los Angeles participants who had a physician recommendation for medical marijuana used the drug differently than residents elsewhere who used marijuana without a prescription.

It was also inspired by the fact that, since medical marijuana first became legal in California 17 years ago, the list of health conditions eligible to receive a prescription has grown to more than 200, resulting in a growing number of young people accessing the drug with a medical recommendation.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

Movies

Review: Bickering family dramedy 'This is Where I…

A talented cast sits Shiva in the bickering family dramedy "This is Where I Leave You," although it's more sap than yuks.

Movies

Review: Desert-walking movie 'Tracks' would be better as…

Mia Wasikowska walks 1700 miles across Australia's deserts in "Tracks," in a story that defies triumph-of-the-spirit cliches but gets some of them anyway.

NFL

J.J. Watt poses unique challenges to struggling Giants…

Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, is the leader of a surprising Texans (2-0) team that has already matched last season’s win total.

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…