Joint Effects: How Medical Marijuana Legalization Affects State-level Marijuana Use and Non-medical Pain Reliever Use Open Access

Yoon, Hyewon (2014)

Permanent URL:


This study examines the potential link between the passage of medical marijuana laws and two types of illicit drug use: marijuana use and non-medical pain reliever (NMPR) use. It uses state-level data of 2002 to 2011 extracted from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the Marijuana Policy Project, the Center for Disease Control, US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau, and US Department of Education. The results show that there is generally a modest, positive association between medical marijuana legalization (MML) and marijuana use and MML and state-level prevalence of NMPR usage by individuals aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 25. The results also show that marijuana and NMPR use by individuals aged 18 to 25 increases more than those by individuals aged 12 to 17 when a state legalizes medical marijuana. The main implication of this current study is that the increased accessibility of marijuana through MML could encourage more prescription pain reliever abuse among individuals aged 12 to 25. However, it is difficult to determine whether the increase in NMPR use is being directly driven by the marijuana gateway effect.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction


II. Literature Review


III. Data and Empirical Strategy


IV. Results and Analysis


V. Discussions & Limitations


VI. References


About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files