WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Rhode Island did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to the state's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana, researchers say.
Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island Hospital, and co-authors of a study on the issue said state-level legalization of medical marijuana five years ago raised concerns about increased accessibility and appeal of the drug to youth.
The researchers compared trends in adolescent marijuana use in Rhode Island and Massachusetts using the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System between 1997 and 2009.
The analysis of data on 32,570 students found while marijuana use was common throughout the study period, there were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use between states in any year.
"Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana; however, additional research may follow future trends as medical marijuana in Rhode Island and other states becomes more widely used," Choo told the American Public Health Association annual meeting and exposition in Washington.