The U.S. is seeing an increase in marijuana use that can be attributed to legalization for recreational purposes, a recent study in the journal Addiction shows. Those living in states where adult-use cannabis is legal consume it 20% more frequently than residents of states where marijuana is still banned.
The study included 3,421 participants from Colorado and Minnesota. They sampled on two occasions: first, prior to 2014 when the sale of marijuana was still illegal, and second, after 2014 and Colorado went recreational. Over time those surveyed relocated, which resulted in nearly every state being represented in the survey.
Interestingly, the study also looked into marijuana use patterns among 111 pairs of identical twins, with one living in a state where recreational cannabis is legal and one in a state still pending legalization.
Given that twins share everything from genes to the same type of upbringing, the influence of policy change on marijuana use could be measured more precisely, Stephanie Zellers, a researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland, explained.
Among the identical twins, researchers found that marijuana usage increased about 20% in states that legalized recreational weed compared to those that did not.
“Because that 20% estimate is from the analysis controlling for measured and unmeasured variables, it is the most precise estimate of the causal influence of cannabis legalization on cannabis use,” Zellers told CNN.
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Meanwhile, a separate study that used data from the 2004–2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that cannabis use is 10 times more common among those who smoke cigarettes than in non-smokers.
While a heated debate on whether marijuana legalization leads to more young people trying the substance or not persists, San Francisco-based cannabis delivery platform Eaze found an increasing crossover between cannabis use and off-the-couch activities, including work, fitness and intimacy.
“We’re seeing the integration of cannabis into parts of life where we previously didn’t see it. It’s not about waking up and hitting a bong,” Elizabeth Ashford, vice president of communications at Eaze, told Adweek recently. “Some people may take a 2-milligram Sativa edible like someone else would drink espresso in the morning.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.