In a new study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, researchers found that an alarming number of teens in substance abuse programs are using medical marijuana that was intended for someone else.
The authors, headed by Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel, surveyed 164 teens, aged 14 to 18, at two adolescent substance abuse treatment programs in Denver about their use of medical marijuana
. Their result showed nearly 74 percent of the respondents used marijuana, recommended for another person, in an average of 50 times.
According to the report, those who were regularly using medical marijuana at a younger age were also more dependent on the drug and showed more symptoms of conduct disorder. The researchers suggest improved policy to control the improper use of medical marijuana by young people
"Many high-risk adolescent patients in substance abuse treatment have used diverted medical marijuana on multiple occasions, which implies that substantial diversion is occurring among registered users," Salomonsen-Sautel said in a journal news release. "Our results support the need for policy changes that protect against diversion of medical marijuana to adolescents."
The study authors also added that most of the teens believed the drug comes with little or no risk.
In Colorado, recent policy changes have paved the way for more legalized medical marijuana use
. With that latest development, the researchers noted that teens who are using medical marijuana are most likely able to obtain the drug from an adult with a valid registry identification card for the drug.