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

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…