Now that more than two dozen states allow medical marijuana use and at least two states that have legalized it for recreational use, more adults in the United States are using it more often and fewer think it is risky, according to a new survey.
“The associations between increases in marijuana use and decreases in perceiving great risk of harm from smoking marijuana suggest the need for education regarding the risk of smoking marijuana and prevention messages,” according to the journal, The Lancet Psychiatry, which published the survey.
More than a half million U.S. adults participated in the survey compiled data over more than a decade. The over The results show a shift in attitude. Only a third of adults in 2014 said they thought weekly marijuana use was dangerous, down from half of adults in 2002.
Other highlights from the report, which compared 2002 to 2014, include:
- About one in eight adults used marijuana in the past year, up from 1 in 10.
- Daily use doubled, to 3.5 percent among adults.
- Changes in marijuana use and perception increased significantly around 2007.
- No increase was seen in reported marijuana use disorders, like impaired memory, difficulty thinking and withdrawal symptoms like cravings, sleeplessness and depression.
- As more adults use pot, fewer teens are using the drug.
Even though 25 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws, Colorado and Washington allow recreational sales and Alaska and Oregon allow sales without a doctor's note, marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies it as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the same class as heroin and LSD. According to federal policy, marijuana has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.
Still, experts say the legal risk to physicians is small and that state enforcement is often lax. Each state has its own system and requirements for prescribing marijuana, and nationwide, only a few doctors have lost their medical licenses for improperly prescribing it.
Even so, a person harmed as a result of using medically prescribed marijuana could have a claim against his or her physician if the doctor:
- Should not have recommended marijuana in the first place, or
- Did not do a thorough examination, or
- Did not warn the patient of the potential for addiction, or
- Did not monitor the patient while they were using the prescribed marijuana.
In addition to the liability doctors may face if a patient overdoses or suffer other ill effects of marijuana use, at least one company specializing in dispensary insurance is providing product liability coverage. The coverage is based on an actual case of a child who was taken to the hospital after eating cannabis-infused gummy bears.
If you or a loved one were prescribed marijuana and suffered negative consequences as a result, you may be entitled to compensation the doctor or the dispensary. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 1-800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.