New research refutes ‘gateway drug’ fears over cannabis legalisation

New research refutes ‘gateway drug’ fears over cannabis legalisation
Cannabis Health News

Young adults consume less alcohol, cigarettes and other substances following cannabis legalisation, according to a new study. A paper published earlier this month by researchers at the University of Washington, found that young people consumed less alcohol, nicotine, and non-prescribed pain medication, after cannabis was legalised for adult-use.  Researchers assessed trends in alcohol, nicotine, and non-prescribed pain reliever use among a cohort of over 12,500 young adults (ages 18 to 25) in Washington State following legalisation in 2012. Contrary to concerns about the detrimental effects on wider society, according to the study, “the implementation of legalised non-medical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse.” The findings show that prevalence of alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking and cigarette use in the past month, as well as prevalence of past-year pain reliever misuse decreased.  While the prevalence of substance use other than cannabis was “higher among occasional and frequent cannabis users compared to cannabis non-users”, associations between cannabis and pain reliever misuse and heavy episodic drinking “weakened over time”.  However the team did find that the prevalence of past-month e-cigarette use had increased post-legalisation. They concluded: “Our findings add to evidence that the legalisation of non-medical cannabis has not led to dramatic increases in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and non-prescribed opioids. “The findings indicate that the most critical public health concerns surrounding cannabis legalisation and the evolution of legalised cannabis markets may be specific to cannabis use and related consequences.” Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Real-world data from legalisation states disputes longstanding claims that cannabis is some sort of ‘gateway’ substance. In fact, in many instances, cannabis regulation is associated with the decreased use of other substances, including many prescription medications.” Cannabis legalisation in the UK Cannabis legalisation is a hot topic…

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Source : New research refutes ‘gateway drug’ fears over cannabis legalisation

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