The Impact of Medical Marijuana Advertisements

medical-marijuanaThe Impact of Marijuana Advertising

In 1996, it became legal for people to get a recommendation from a doctor to use marijuana for medical purposes in California. As the state gears up for a vote on the legality of recreational use in 2016, there are a number of factors that need to be considered including weighing the impact that medical marijuana has had on teenagers. New research suggests that middle school students who saw medical marijuana ads were twice as likely to have used the drug or plan to use it in the future, HealthDay reports.

Medical Marijuana Ads Spur Teenage Use

More than 8,200 middle school students in Southern California were included in the study, teens in sixth through eighth grade. After the first year of the research, 22 percent of the students reported seeing at least one advertisement for medical marijuana in the past three months, according to the article. A year later, that figure had risen to 30 percent.

Since the state passed medical marijuana, the number of advertisements for the drug has grown due to the exponential growth of the industry with every year that passes. The researchers point out that it is not uncommon for medical marijuana ads to appear on and in: television, newspapers, billboards and dispensary storefronts.

“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,” said study author, Elizabeth D’Amico of the nonprofit research organization RAND, in a news release.

Using Alcohol As A Guide

“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,” said D’Amico. “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.”

The findings are published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

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Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Impacts the Economy

drunk-drivingDriving under the influence of alcohol has a serious impact on society. Every year, thousands of lives are lost because people get behind the wheel with alcohol in their system. Preventing drunk driving, not only saves lives, it also has a positive impact on the economy, Reuters reports.

A new study has found that the reduction in drunk driving over the past few decades contributed to 5 percent of the $200 million compounded average annual growth in the gross domestic product from 1985 to 2013. Since 1984-86, alcohol related car crash reductions created 215,000 jobs and:

  • Increased economic output in 2010 by an estimated $20 billion.
  • Increased the U.S. gross domestic product by $10 billion.
  • Increased U.S. income by $6.5 billion.

In the United States, the study showed that alcohol played a part in about 12 percent of car crashes in 2010, according to the article. In 1984 to 1986, the number of people involved in car crashes due to alcohol was around double what it was in 2010.

“Alcohol-involved crashes drag down the U.S. economy,” the researchers wrote. “On average, each of the 25.5 billion miles Americans drove impaired in 2010 reduced economic output by $0.80. Those losses are preventable.”

The country will continue to see economic gains as alcohol-related car crashes continue to become less common, said Ted Miller, a study author from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“We know where to move to get more reductions,” said Miller. “We need to hold the course and keep expanding it.”

The findings were published in the journal Injury Prevention.

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