« ASHES, Vol. 11(9) – Vape it or leave it: Former smokers report less dependence on e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes | Main | The WAGER, Vol. 20(10) – Feeling better without losing: Decreasing disordered gambling and improving people’s moods »

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Imagine, if you will, a study designed to examine the drinking behavior of youth, which contains data on those who break into liquor stores and those whose parents give them permission to drink. The first is analogous to those who use marijuana from others' prescriptions; the second to those who have prescriptions themselves. The analysis would be expected to show the same results as this study does for marijuana.

A study of oxycodone use (which, incidentally, could be done using data from these surveys) would likely show similar findings.

So what does the study really show? There is an association between greater access and greater use, which cannot be causally explained with these data, except for presumed motivation. Those who seek prescribed drugs, whether from self or others' prescriptions, are probably more motivated to use the drug, and further that those who are more motivated to seek a drug are more likely to enjoy it ("get high") and use it more frequently.

Of course the results are expected. What concerns me is that the study will be used to inappropriately claim that prescribing marijuana is inherently immoral because youth abuse the opportunity.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

The BASIS is a product of the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. The Division is an entirely self-funded academic organization that relies on grants, contracts, and gifts in order to produce The BASIS and our other high-quality work.