Dr. Wilson Compton Speaking:
With the legalization now in Alaska, in Oregon, and the changing in the status in the District of Columbia we will certainly look to researchers to help us understand what the impact of these shifting policies are on the health of our communities.
There are many questions about these shifting policies, what does it do to availability of the drugs and with increased availability of commercial sales facilities, does that change the amount and pattern of drugs that people are using.
Will it change how much adolescents use?
Adolescents are not legally allowed to buy at any of these locations, but yet we are quite aware that adolescents will still get access to them as it increases in availability in those locations.
So, what will that do to adolescent development, what about the acute affects of things like poisonings things like driving under the influence of these substances, things like overdoses, which can occur particularly with the edible products where the dosages are uncertain and unpredictable.
How will that affect behavior in public health in the short term and in the long run is of course essential for us to understand.
NIDA has multiple plans to understand the impact of marijuana on health and behavior.
Perhaps most important, we need to understand the impact of marijuana on adolescent brain development.
Turns out we know quite a bit about use patterns, of these drugs and we know some of the risks that they present to the developing adolescent and to young adults.
We don't really understand fully how the brain reacts to these substances, particularly in combination with alcohol and tobacco, which is most typical in the community.
Looking at how these substances interact with one another and will produce major lasting changes in the adolescent brain is an essential part of our scientific enterprise.