According to a recent University study, if you use medical marijuana and you’re a high school student, you are more likely to become addicted to the substance than from the use of non-medical marijuana.
The authors of the study used data from another study, Monitoring the Future, an ongoing look at drug use among American adolescents.
The study, “Adolescents’ Use of Medical Marijuana: A Secondary Analysis of Monitoring the Future Data,” divided 12th grade adolescents in the data into four groups. These four groups were non-marijuana users, users who had medical marijuana papers, users who used someone else’s marijuana without medical papers, and users who obtained marijuana from an illicit source — i.e. non-medical marijuana.
The study was done in order to determine how much the three groups smoked when compared with each other. The authors of the study also wanted to look at which of the three marijuana-using groups tended to use or not use other substances.
According to the study, few teens actually get marijuana directly or illegally from medical sources. The vast majority of 12th grade marijuana users get the substance from non-medical, illegal sources.
The study found the group of non-medical marijuana users were the least likely to engage in risky behaviors — defined as engaging the activities of using the substance on “40 or more occasions,” smoking weed every day, or being drunk and using other illegal or legal substances — of the three marijuana-using groups.
The study also analyzed those who said they were addicted to marijuana. Carol Boyd, a University professor in the School of Nursing and one of the authors of the study, said the group of medical-card carrying marijuana users and the group of users who obtained medical marijuana from someone else were both likelier to say they were “hooked” than those who used illegal marijuana.
“Medical users were 10.2-fold more likely to say they were hooked when compared to teens who used illicit marijuana,” Boyd said. “Diverted medical users were 6.4- fold more likely to say they were hooked when compared to teens who used illicit marijuana. These increased odds were statistically significant for both groups.”
In the discussion section of the study, authors noted some research setbacks, one of which was that the data only included 12th grade students who were enrolled in school, leaving out those unenrolled. For deeper understanding, the study says more research should be done on the topic.