Canadian Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Delayed Progression To Injection Drug Use

CANADA:  Cannabis use is associated with slower rates of injection initiation among at-risk youth, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Canadian researchers assessed drug use progression in a cohort of 481 street-involved youth over a ten-year period.

Authors reported: “[W]e observed a high rate of injection initiation among at-risk street-involved youth. Our results indicate that periods of frequent cannabis use were associated with slower rates of initiation: daily cannabis use was associated with a 34 percent decrease in the hazard rate of injection initiation.”

They concluded: “[F]requent cannabis use was negatively associated with injection initiation. … Given the expansion of cannabis legalization throughout North America, it is encouraging that cannabis use was associated with slower time to initiation of injection drug use in this cohort. This finding challenges the view of cannabis as a gateway substance that precipitates the progression to using harder and more addictive drugs.”

A 2017 study published by several of the same researchers previously reported that cannabis use was associated with reduced consumption of crack cocaine in a cohort of polydrug users.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Cannabis use is associated with lower rates of initiation of injection drug use among street-involved youth: A longitudinal analysis,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Review.

Dr. Carl Hart: Why You Should Teach Your Kids How To Get High

CALIFORNIA:  Last week, Dr. Carl Hart, world-renowned neuroscientist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University—and the first African American to be tenured in the sciences at the school, participated in a townhall phone conversation with the The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s most influential organization working to end the war on drugs and its resulting mass incarceration and criminalization. It was the latest in a series of calls designed to increase public understanding about the myths about drugs that drove the explosion of laws and sentencing schemes that cemented the United States as the world’s largest incarcerator.

Hart’s textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, is widely used, and his award-winning, best-selling memoir, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, was broadly acclaimed by members of the science community. Regularly featured in the New York Times, on CNN and other outlets, Dr. Hart has been called to testify before Congress, and consult with presidents.

Below is an edited transcript of Dr. Hart’s conversation with journalist/activist asha bandele and participating callers from across the country on the concerns parents have about drugs and the laws that prosecute those who use them.