A study BioMed Central’s open access journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy has suggested that around a third of teens who smoke marijuana regularly use it as a medication, rather than as a means of getting high.
The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Joan Bottorff worked with a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia for conducting in-depth interviews with 63 marijuana-using adolescents. Of these, 20 claimed that they used marijuana to relieve or manage health problems.
Bottorff said, “Marijuana is perceived by some teens to be the only available alternative for those experiencing difficult health problems when legitimate medical treatments have failed or when they lack access to appropriate health care.”
The most common complaints recorded were emotional problems like anxiety, depression, stress, and sleep difficulties. The authors said, “Youth who reported they had been prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac or sleeping pills, stopped using them because they did not like how these drugs made them feel or found them ineffective. For these kids, the purpose of smoking marijuana was not specifically about getting high or stoned”.
It was emphasized by the authors that the unmet medical needs of these teens are of great importance in these gings. Marijuana provided these adolescents with immediate relief for a variety of health concerns in contrast to the unpleasant side effects of prescribed medications and long, ineffective legal therapies.