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
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…