RI study looks at medical marijuana, teen pot use

A new study from a physician at Rhode Island Hospital has found no link between the legalization of medical marijuana, and an increase in marijuana use among teens.

The study, by Dr. Esther Choo, looked at 20 years of data from states with and without medical marijuana programs.

"There was really no difference in marijuana use that could be directly attributed to these laws," she said.

Choo used data from the Centers for Disease Control on high school student marijuana use, which she said is pretty common across the board with about 20 percent of students saying they regularly use.

Choo's study claims the numbers didn't go up more when states allowed medical marijuana.

"We only looked at medical marijuana. So when states implement medical marijuana laws, it's done in a pretty restrictive fashion," she said. "My study only shows that medical marijuana laws specifically don't have an impact on adolescent drug use. It cannot be generalized to legalization of marijuana in general."

The data is not yet available for Colorado and Washington state, which recently legalized recreational use.

Choo said her team will wait for those numbers to come in for the next study.

"Then we will certainly be asking the same questions about legalization for a general recreational use," she said.

Medical marijuana is legal in 21 states, including Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.