A review of research published this month shows that more data is needed to see exactly how cannabis use ties in with public health.
The survey was conducted by University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers Kimberley Geissler and Jennifer Whitehill, assistant professors of health policy and management. It looked at both state and national public health surveys and evaluated their information on lifetime cannabis use, age of first use, how often and where the use took place, method of consumption, source for cannabis, reasons for using and cannabis, and overall opinions on cannabis.
“A challenge for public health monitoring and research is significant variation in data availability related to cannabis use behaviors and perceptions across and within states and over time, including the availability of pre-legalization versus post-legalization data,” the researchers wrote.
Further Plans For Cannabis Research Compilation
In addition to showing gaps in existing research, the idea behind compiling these surveys was to put all the information in one place so that researchers, cannabis legislators, and other interested parties can access it all at once and also see what works. The surveys that included more than just yes-or-no questions provided more information, and the researchers hope that more in-depth survey methods will be used going forward.
“The most basic of these indicators in thinking about cannabis legalization is how much do people use cannabis and are people changing the way in which they use – are they using more edibles versus smoking? Are there changes in how often they’re using it? And one thing that’s important from a public health perspective, who is using and how is that changing? For example, are adolescents using cannabis more frequently?” Geissler said. “We found a lot of gaps for monitoring adolescent use.”
Surveys can also be changed and updated as part of this ongoing project, which is great for states looking to compare pre- and post-legalization data. Although this compiled research reveals that a lot more work needs to be done, it also provides a very helpful tool for the future.