Health Risks of Marijuana Use: State of the Science

The session titled, “Health Risks of Marijuana Use: State of the Science” was presented by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and occurred during the 2020 Virtual Mid-Year Training Institute. Topics covered include:

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with 44 million Americans aged 12 and older (16 percent) using it during 2018. A growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or non-medical purposes, creating a false perception that marijuana use is safe. Perceptions of harm associated with its use are decreasing across all age groups. Notably absent from any discussion on legalizing marijuana, however, is attention given to the risks and adverse health outcomes related to its use, especially related to adolescents and pregnant and nursing women. Comprehensive, multi-level approaches supported by effective community-based preventive interventions to reduce marijuana use are critical, and especially important for areas that have legalized its use.

This in-depth session will provide a detailed overview of the national survey data on marijuana use, adolescent brain cognitive development, public health impact of marijuana use on adolescents and pregnant women, cannabis policy topics, key marijuana use prevention resources and technical assistance services, and examples of innovative prevention approaches at the state and local levels.
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