Adolescents exposed to medical marijuana advertising were two times more likely to use or report intentions of using marijuana than adolescents no exposed to advertising, according to study findings in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
“As prohibitions on marijuana ease and sales of marijuana become more visible, it’s important to think about how we need to change the way we talk to young people about the risks posed by the drug,” study researcher Elizabeth J. D’Amico, PhD, of RAND Corporation, said in a press release. “The lessons we have learned from alcohol — a substance that is legal, but not necessarily safe — may provide guidance about approaches we need to take toward marijuana.”
Elizabeth J. D'Amico
To assess exposure to advertising for medical marijuana, marijuana intentions and marijuana use, researchers surveyed 8,214 students in sixth to eighth grade in 16 middle schools across Southern California (mean age, 13 years). This study included survey responses from 2010 and 2011.
Cross-lagged regression modeling analysis showed exposure to medical marijuana ads predicted stronger intentions to use marijuana (P < .001) and actual use (P < .002). Thus, adolescents who reported viewing medical marijuana ads were two times more likely to use marijuana and report higher intentions of using marijuana than adolescents unexposed to ads.
Reporting intention to use (P = .008) and using marijuana (P < .001) in 2010 were predictors of exposure to medical marijuana ads in 2011. Adolescents who reported using marijuana were three times more likely to report seeing ads 1 year later.
“Given that advertising typically tells only one side of the story, prevention efforts must begin to better educate youth about how medical marijuana is used, while also emphasizing the negative effects that marijuana can have on the brain and performance,” D’Amico said. – by Amanda Oldt
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