$3.3 Million University Study Planned to Examine Effects of Medical Cannabis on Young Adults

Drexel University has received a $3.3 million grant for a five-year study of medical cannabis and its impact on among young adults in Los Angeles, especially its effect on physical and psychological health.

Dr. Stephen Lankenau, associate professor at Drexel University's School of Public Health, will be the lead for this new study
Dr. Stephen Lankenau, associate professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health, will be the lead for this new study

This will be the first wide-scale project funded by the National Institute of Health aimed directly at investigating medical marijuana use among young adults (aged 18 to 26).

The study, which will be titled; “Medical Marijuana, Emerging Adults & Community: Connecting Health and Policy“, will be led by Dr. Stephen Lankenau, who’s an associate professor at Drexel’s School of Public Health. Lankenau hopes the study’s findings will help guide medical cannabis policies at the local, state and national level.

One thing that the study hopes to accomplish is better understanding the significance and influence of dispensaries on health; “Dispensaries are a relatively new and unusual institution, and they haven’t been studied much,” Lankenau said; he hypothesizes that dispensaries may provide the basis for better physical and psychological outcomes for medical marijuana users (with increased social support being one of the suspected reasons), compared to non-medical users who purchase the drug on the black market.

According to a university press release, the study has three primary aims:

  • Determine the basis for medical marijuana patient status and its impact on trajectories of physical and psychological health among emerging adults.
  • Determine the impact of medical marijuana patient status on patterns of drug use among emerging adults, including intensity of marijuana use and misuse of alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs.
  • Describe the natural history of marijuana use in Los Angeles among medical marijuana patients and non-medical users.

As long as the study isn’t biased, we expect the results to be nothing but positive for the cannabis-reform movement.


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