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Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Category Archives: Behavioral

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life

  • Marijuana use was associated with increased impulsivity relative to non-use days.
  • Increased impulsivity was also observed for the day following marijuana use.
  • Marijuana use was associated with greater hostile perceptions and behaviors.
  • Findings highlight the relevance of studying real world effects of marijuana use.


Marijuana use is increasingly prevalent among young adults. While research has found adverse effects associated with marijuana use within experimentally controlled laboratory settings, it is unclear how recreational marijuana use affects day-to-day experiences in users. The present study sought to examine the effects of marijuana use on within-person changes in impulsivity and interpersonal hostility in daily life using smartphone administered assessments.


Forty-three participants with no substance dependence reported on their alcohol consumption, tobacco use, recreational marijuana use, impulsivity, and interpersonal hostility over the course of 14 days. Responses were analyzed using multilevel modeling.


Marijuana use was associated with increased impulsivity on the same day and the following day relative to days when marijuana was not used, independent of alcohol use. Marijuana was also associated with increased hostile behaviors and perceptions of hostility in others on the same day when compared to days when marijuana was not used. These effects were independent of frequency of marijuana use or alcohol use. There were no significant effects of alcohol consumption on impulsivity or interpersonal hostility.


Marijuana use is associated with changes in impulse control and hostility in daily life. This may be one route by which deleterious effects of marijuana are observed for mental health and psychosocial functioning. Given the increasing prevalence of recreational marijuana use and the potential legalization in some states, further research on the potential consequences of marijuana use in young adults’ day-to-day life is warranted.

Athletes may have different reasons for marijuana use

Athletes may have different reasons for marijuana use

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, July 11, 2011)  Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. (2011, July 11). Athletes may have different reasons for marijuana use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 9, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711104926.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:

College athletes tend to be less likely than their non-athlete peers to smoke marijuana. But when they do, they may have some different reasons for it, according to a tumblr post.

Journal Reference:

Jennifer F. Buckman, David A. Yusko, Samantha G. Farris, Helene R. White, Robert J. Pandina. Risk of Marijuana Use in Male and Female College Student Athletes and NonathletesJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Volume 72, 2011 > Issue 4: July 2011


Students trading sex for drugs … in rural Canada

Students trading sex for drugs or alcohol happens also in rural Canada

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, August 1, 2012)  University of British Columbia. (2012, August 1). Students trading sex for drugs or alcohol happens also in rural Canada. ScienceDaily. 

Retrieved May 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801143721.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:

Just over two percent of teens in rural schools who have ever tried alcohol, marijuana or other drugs report they have also traded sex for these substances, according to new research.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia.

Childhood defiance correlated with cannabis abuse

Childhood defiance correlated with drug dependence

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, August 1, 2012)  Université de Montréal. (2012, August 1). Childhood defiance correlated with drug dependence. ScienceDaily. 

Retrieved June 10, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801112607.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:

Childhood defiance is correlated with drug dependence whereas inattention suggests a susceptibility to smoking.

WTR-RI Research & Analysis Team Note:

ScienceDaily also reported the study found “in strongly oppositional children, the risk of tobacco abuse, once other factors were taken into account, was 1.4 times higher than in children who exhibited little oppositional behavior. The risk is 2.1 times higher for cannabis abuse and 2.9 times higher for cocaine abuse.

Journal Reference:

J-B Pingault, S M Côté, C Galéra, C Genolini, B Falissard, F Vitaro, R E Tremblay. Childhood trajectories of inattention, hyperactivity and oppositional behaviors and prediction of substance abuse/dependence: a 15-year longitudinal population-based study. Molecular Psychiatry, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2012.87

Teen Use in Denver Area after Legalization

Denver’s Marijuana Rates vs US

Last 30 Day Use Rates vs. U.S. and information on perceptions and use rates among specific populations:

Source U.S. 8th 10th and 12th Grade Monitoring the Future 2014
Source U.S. 9th Grade – CDC Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2014
Source Denver: Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2014 http://www.chd.dphe.state.co.us/Resources/HKCS/HighSchool/HSR20_HS.pdf


Marijuana US

Marijuana Denver

Percent Higher in Denver than US

















Additional data of concern for Denver:

  • 􏰀  Use among Denver’s African American youth is almost 30% (29.6) and Caucasian Youth is 31%
  • 􏰀  Almost 40% of Denver’s Caucasian high school males are using and 33% of African Americanfemale high school students
  • 􏰀  63% of Denver high school students say it’s sort of easy or very easy to get marijuana
  • 􏰀  Only 44% of Denver High School youth believe regular marijuana use is harmful with the lowest perception of harm among African American youth (36%)

Teen marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization

Prevalence of high school seniors’ marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, Feb. 14, 2014)  New York University. (2014, February 25). Prevalence of high school seniors’ marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2014 from  www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225112904.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:

Large proportions of high school students normally at low risk for marijuana use (e.g., non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use) reported intention to use marijuana if it were legal, a tumblr post reports. National support for marijuana legalization is increasing in the United States. Recreational use was recently legalized in the states of Colorado and Washington; other states across the country are expected to follow suit. To date, an additional 15 states have decriminalized marijuana use, and 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow medical marijuana to be prescribed.

WTR-RI Research Team Note:

ScienceDaily’s story further reports that “The researchers found that the data collected by the Monitoring The Future Study and analyzed by Dr. Palamar and his colleagues indicate that ten percent of non-lifetime marijuana users reported that they would try marijuana if legal.”

Journal Reference:

Joseph J. Palamar, Danielle C. Ompad, Eva Petkova. Correlates of Intentions to Use Cannabis among US High School Seniors in the Case of Cannabis LegalizationInternational Journal of Drug Policy, 2014; DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.01.017

Adolescent Use In Spain after Legalization

Cannabis consumption initiation among adolescents: A longitudinal study

Anna Pérez  Carles ArizaFrancesca Sánchez-Martínez, Manel Nebot
Addictive Behaviors  Volume 35, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 129–134

Corresponding author. Evaluation and Intervention Methods Service, Public Health Agency of Barcelona, Plaça Lesseps 1, 08023, Barcelona, Spain. Tel.: + 34 93 202 77 49; fax: + 34 93 292 14 43.

WTR-RI Research & Analysis Team Note:

According to the abstract for this study, “A questionnaire was administered to 2043 14–15-year-olds from Barcelona who were followed-up and re-interviewed after 15 months. … Among matched students, 23.7% of non-users at baseline had started to consume 15 months later (23.0% boys and 24.2% girls). Among those who had reported occasional cannabis use, 30.3% reported consumption during the previous month at the follow-up survey. … Cannabis initiation was facilitated by legal drug use, favorable attitudes and context-related variables.”  (underscoring ours)

The complete Abstract and access to the article are available at  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460309002470

Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment

Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment

Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, Ph.D., Joseph T. Sakai, M.D., Christian Thurstone, M.D.,Robin Corley, Ph.D., Christian Hopfer, M.D.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  Volume 51, Issue 7 , Pages 694-702, July 2012 (published online 28 May 2012)  http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(12)00286-9/abstract

This study analyzed trends in use of diverted medical marijuana among 164 teens (age 14 to 18) treated at a residential rehab program in Colorado.  The article’s abstract reports that “Approximately 74% of the adolescents … reported using diverted medical marijuana a median of 50 times.”  Earlier age of marijuana use, the presence of more abuse and dependence symptoms and more conduct disorder symptoms were also noted among those using diverted medical marijuana.

                                                            Summary prepared by WTR-RI Research Team.

The abstract and article are available at  http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(12)00286-9/abstract

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