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Medical Marijuana May Pose Risk to Teens

Summary: Does always having access to a drug, even though it's for medicinal purposes, increase the risk of addiction?
Air Date: 8/14/15
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Carol J. Boyd, PhD, MSN, FAAN
Carol Boyd Carol J. Boyd, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN is the Deborah J. Oakley professor of Nursing and a Research Professor at the Addiction Research Center in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Boyd is an internationally recognized substance abuse scholar whose career started when she studied female heroin and "T and Blue" users in Detroit.

Her mid-career research centered on African American women's abuse of crack cocaine, but her more recent NIH funded studies focus on adolescent and young adult populations and their abuse of alcohol and controlled medications.

Boyd currently studies the use, misuse and abuse of controlled medications (e.g., opioid analgesics) among youth and emerging adults. Her research draws attention to the variety of behaviors associated this form of substance abuse; indeed, she was one of the first to articulate the importance of "motivations" in determining adolescent risk for prescription drug abuse.

Boyd publishes extensively in interdisciplinary journals; her most recent work centers on this nonmedical use of benzodiazepines and sedatives among adolescents (Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, November 2014). Other recent studies have been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Substance Abuse, Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine and Pain, to name a few.
Medical Marijuana May Pose Risk to Teens
Within the past few years, medical marijuana has been made legal in several states.

Even though research has shown the many benefits to medical marijuana, some parents worry that if their teens have legal permission to use medical marijuana, it could increase the risk of addiction.

Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at 4,400 high school seniors, 48 who had medical marijuana cards, 266 who used someone else's medical marijuana card, and those who bought marijuana from street dealers.

Researchers found that the teens who used medical marijuana were more likely to have problems with addiction.

What does this tell us about medical marijuana and teens' access to it?

Listen in as one of the authors of the study, Dr. Carol Boyd, explains how medical marijuana could increase the risk of addiction in teenagers.