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The Relationship between State Medical Marijuana Laws, Substance Use and Mental Health Disorder Diagnoses, and Associated Health Care Costs: Preliminary Findings

Ali Yurasek
University of Florida

Objective: Marijuana (MJ) use (for both medical and recreational purposes) is increasing among patients following medical marijuana legalization, and it is critical for health professionals to have a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and mental health disorders, including substance use disorders (SUDs). Despite the potential of medical MJ to assist with these health conditions, marijuana use is also associated with increased participation in substance use treatment and risk for the development of psychosis and mood-related disorders. Yet, if the passage of medical marijuana laws (MML) is associated with changes in substance use or mental health diagnoses or treatment related health costs remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between state MML and substance use and other mental health disorder diagnoses and associated health care costs.


  1. Amie Goodin

    Dear Dr. Yurasek,
    Do you anticipate adding controls for other policy factors or other characteristics of the state environment in the next steps of this research project? It seems like there are many potential possibilities on this front.

  2. Bob Cook, MD, MPH

    Interesting presentation Dr. Y! I had heard that some people might choose to move to a state that has more access to marijuana – I don’t know if its enough to account for these findings, but something to think about if people with more mental health/substance use in the first place choose to move to a state in order to access MM.

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