Breaking News
January 23, 2019 - Unique data combination helps FinnGen researchers to fund links between genetic factors and health
January 23, 2019 - Parents’ mental health problems associated with reactive attachment disorder in children
January 23, 2019 - Graphene Flagship project studies impact of graphene and related materials on our health
January 23, 2019 - The connection between the Pope and contraceptive pills
January 23, 2019 - Prior dengue infection could protect children from symptomatic Zika
January 23, 2019 - VISTA checkpoint implicated in pancreatic cancer immunotherapy resistance
January 23, 2019 - The Tiny Camera That Could Revolutionize Cardiovascular Surgery
January 23, 2019 - Peptide isolated from soil fungi has antitumor and antibacterial properties
January 23, 2019 - TGen identifies polio-like virus as potential cause of Acute Flaccid Myelitis outbreak
January 23, 2019 - Migrants and refugees do not bring disease and are at greater health risk themselves says WHO
January 23, 2019 - Examing the effects of menopause in workplace
January 23, 2019 - Enemy number 1 – Air pollution and climate change top of WHO agenda
January 23, 2019 - Two Positive Phase III studies of Tafenoquine for the Radical Cure of Plasmodium vivax Malaria Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
January 23, 2019 - World Trade Center responders at increased risk for head and neck cancers
January 23, 2019 - Low-sugar diet leads to significant improvement in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in boys
January 23, 2019 - Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system, finds study
January 23, 2019 - Short, text-based exercises can increase happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders
January 23, 2019 - Body size may have greater influence on women’s lifespan than men
January 23, 2019 - Groundbreaking tool helps visualize neuronal activity with near-infrared light
January 23, 2019 - Holocaust survivors with PTSD and their offspring exhibit more unhealthy behavior patterns
January 23, 2019 - Scientists discover new genetic mutations causing inherited deaf-blindness
January 23, 2019 - UC team designs new naloxone-dispensing smart device
January 23, 2019 - Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Losartan Potassium Tablets, USP and Losartan Potassium and Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets, USP
January 23, 2019 - Brain activity shows development of visual sensitivity in autism
January 23, 2019 - Two hour gap between dinner and sleep is overrated says Japanese research
January 23, 2019 - Fear and embarrassment are causing smear test numbers to plummet
January 23, 2019 - Protein-secreting device implanted in epileptic rats reduces seizures, improves cognition
January 23, 2019 - Reintroduction project recovers current wild population of green turtle in Cayman Islands
January 23, 2019 - Cancer survivors face greater financial burden related to medical bills
January 23, 2019 - PSA screening reduces prostate cancer deaths by 30%
January 23, 2019 - LSTM receives grant to help improve health of people living in informal settlements
January 23, 2019 - Hemochromatosis Mutation Linked to Other Morbidity
January 23, 2019 - Why early diagnosis of autism should lead to early intervention
January 23, 2019 - Aspirin May Lower Stroke Risk in Women with History of Preeclampsia
January 23, 2019 - Exposure to certain chemicals may be linked to decrease in blood pressure during pregnancy
January 23, 2019 - Bowel cancer on the rise among younger Australians
January 23, 2019 - Scientists have reversed memory loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s
January 23, 2019 - Defective molecular master switch could lead to age-related macular degeneration
January 23, 2019 - Researchers identify how concussions may contribute to seizures
January 23, 2019 - Short interval between last meal of the day and bedtime may not affect blood glucose levels
January 23, 2019 - Still Too Many Highway Deaths Tied to Speeding
January 23, 2019 - Prenatal valproate exposure linked to increased ADHD risk
January 23, 2019 - Compound identified that may help treat heart failure
January 23, 2019 - Undiagnosed Asthma in Urban Adolescents May Be Common
January 23, 2019 - Study describes metabolism of intestinal microbiota in babies for the first time
January 22, 2019 - Study links concussions to development of epilepsy
January 22, 2019 - Specialist-led hospital bereavement service may help restrain legal action after difficult deaths
January 22, 2019 - Genetic study reveals possible new routes to treating osteoarthritis
January 22, 2019 - Blood test may detect early signs of lung-transplant rejection
January 22, 2019 - Blood marker could aid in early prediction of Alzheimer’s progression
January 22, 2019 - Orthodontic treatment does not guarantee future dental health
January 22, 2019 - Rutgers researchers discover cause of bone loss in people with joint replacements
January 22, 2019 - Diversity among rural Africans extends to their gut microbiomes
January 22, 2019 - Newly developed biological system lets cells to create self-curving cornea
January 22, 2019 - VTv Therapeutics Announces Publication of Comprehensive Data in Science Translational Medicine Detailing the Discovery and Clinical Development of TTP399, including Results of Phase 2 AGATA Study
January 22, 2019 - about one in three adults with prediabetes has arthritis
January 22, 2019 - A look at how data is democratizing health care
January 22, 2019 - Alcohol-Linked Disease Overtakes Hep C As Top Reason For Liver Transplant
January 22, 2019 - Researchers identify new genes linked with age-related macular degeneration
January 22, 2019 - MPFI researchers identify synaptic logic for connections between two brain hemispheres
January 22, 2019 - New approach to reduce toxic protein production in ALS
January 22, 2019 - New study extends our knowledge of the link between miRNAs and cancer
January 22, 2019 - Asthma, eczema are not barriers to active lifestyle in teenagers
January 22, 2019 - Genetic changes may predict likelihood of relapse in breast cancer patients
January 22, 2019 - Antiepileptic drug use by people with Alzheimer’s disease linked to accumulation of hospital days
January 22, 2019 - IUPUI researcher receives $2.85 million grant to find ways to improve bone strength
January 22, 2019 - Precision medicine can help keep astronauts healthy during deep space missions
January 22, 2019 - Detecting signs of neurodegeneration earlier and more accurately
January 22, 2019 - Mouse studies challenge ‘inhibition’ theory of autism
January 22, 2019 - SSB launches BIOSTAT RM TX single-use bioreactor for producing consistent quality cellular products
January 22, 2019 - Experimental drug can positively modify key characteristic behavior in FXS patients
January 22, 2019 - Low-Income Women Lack Menstrual Hygiene Supplies
January 22, 2019 - Better mouse model built to enable precision-medicine research for Alzheimer’s
January 22, 2019 - Molecular profiling of precancerous lung lesions could lead to early detection and new treatments
January 22, 2019 - Genetic factors influence where fat is stored in our bodies
January 22, 2019 - The Psychology Behind Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions
January 22, 2019 - Scientists aim to find genetic causes of developmental abnormalities in the vagina and uterus
January 22, 2019 - New survey reveals scale of preventative healthcare challenge in the UK
January 22, 2019 - Looming Global Crisis Means People’s Diets Must Change: Experts
January 22, 2019 - Excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction
Drexel University-led project to study how California’s’s changing cannabis laws impact public health

Drexel University-led project to study how California’s’s changing cannabis laws impact public health

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A Drexel University-led research project aimed at studying the health and behavioral effects of medical marijuana use for young adults living in Los Angeles has been renewed for another five years. The project offers a unique opportunity for researchers to track how the state’s changing cannabis laws are impacting public health.

California became the first state to establish a medical marijuana program in 1996. In 2013, the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the Cannabis, Health, and Young Adults (CHAYA) research project in an effort to better understand the health and social effects of the law. The longitudinal study followed 18 to 26-year-olds – 210 medical cannabis patients and 156 non-patients who used marijuana recreationally – for four years.

Through a series of interviews and surveys, the researchers assessed the study volunteers’ drug usage, health and risk behaviors. The project was the first of its kind to look at the habits and health outcomes of medical cannabis use within this age group. One goal was to uncover whether the legalization of medical marijuana led to safer, more controlled use of the drug for patients when compared to non-patient users.

Now, following California’s legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2016 and sales in 2018, NIDA has awarded the CHAYA investigators $4.1 million to recruit a new cohort of study volunteers and continue tracking the first group of young adults, some of whom are now ages 25 to 30.

“We’ll have four years of data prior to the change in California’s cannabis law, and four more years of data following, so we will have a comprehensive picture of how this policy change has affected the health and drug use of young people,” said Stephen Lankenau, PhD, a professor at Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the CHAYA project.

All young adults enrolled in the latest study will participate in four additional follow-up interviews at one-year intervals directed by collaborators Ellen Iverson, and Carolyn Wong, PhD, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Around 60 of the young adults will participate in three waves of qualitative interviews. A community advisory board comprised of stakeholders in Los Angeles will advise the study investigators on research strategies, findings and implications for policy and practice.

“Once cannabis became legal, a common thought pattern is that everyone is going to use it, and bad things will happen,” Lankenau said. “What we’re interested in seeing is, how do rates of cannabis use among young people actually change following this legalization? What are the factors that contribute to safer use? Are there experiences that may make some young adults better equipped to use it more safely?”

Lankenau and his colleagues have already published a diverse collection of data from the first four years of the study.

They found, for instance, that the “gateway effect” theory – which purports that the use of cannabis can increase the chances of using harder drugs – did not hold up in this case. Though young adult medical marijuana patients reported significantly greater recent use of the drug than their counterparts who used marijuana for non-medical purposes, the medical marijuana patients misused prescription drugs at lower rates.

Additionally, the researchers found that becoming a medical marijuana user was influenced by a “self-discovery” process for a majority of patients, in which they discovered the medical benefits of cannabis while using the drug recreationally early in adolescence, typically individually or apart from other marijuana users. After they became patients, their interactions with dispensary staff and other patients resulted in more sophisticated medical use of cannabis, such as a better understanding of strains, potency and effects. Finally, the researchers found that medical marijuana patients were significantly more likely to report a range of health conditions and motivations associated with medical use than non-patients. This suggests that young adults’ motivations for use were consistent with California’s cannabis law at the time of the study.

In this next phase of the study, the investigators plan to continue looking at the over-arching topics of how marijuana laws affect both medical marijuana patients and non-patients, while also zeroing in on more specific questions, such as whether marijuana policies can reduce opioid consumption. They will also observe whether the legalization of marijuana affects the number of users who drive under the influence. Sprawling Los Angeles is a perfect place to observe trend, since most of its young adults or own or drive vehicles. Lankenau and his team also plan to look usage of “high-potency” forms of marijuana, such as edibles, and how those may influence health outcomes.

The research team hypothesizes that legalizing cannabis for personal use will increase cannabis use, other drug use, and risk behaviors among young adult cannabis users, but this increase will vary by patient status (patient vs. non-patient) and orientation towards cannabis use.

“Our long-term goal of the continuing investigation is to inform public policy with study findings on safer and controlled use of cannabis among young adults,” Lankenau said.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles