To provide high quality regulations, countries have to assess the association between the availability of legal cannabis products and possible outcomes. Thus, the researchers carried out an investigation with a focus on availability differences.
What is the impact of legal cannabis on health?
Researchers included a total of 13 studies in their analysis. All come from North America, with the majority from Western US states, reporting on 333,550 study participants.
Firstly, access to legal cannabis results in higher current cannabis use and health outcomes. Researchers evaluated it using various study designs. The groups that had less exposure to cannabis prior to its legalisation experienced the strongest association between cannabis availability and consumption. Less consistently, there was a correlation between the availability of legal cannabis and signs of risky usage.
According to the study, populations that had the least prior exposure to cannabis may be more exposed to availability changes in the legal cannabis market. Restrictions on the number of legal cannabis providers, particularly in highly populated regions, are appropriate in jurisdictions where cannabis use is legal.
Worth noting are the differences between the recreational and medical cannabis markets in this case. Medical one typically requires a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. As is well known, some EU countries are thinking about legalising cannabis for recreational use. However, few of them have a system of medical cannabis dispensaries in place to replicate. Therefore, it is essential to get as much as possible from the lessons learned from other recreational cannabis markets. You may read more about Germany’s current strategy HERE.
Cannabis availability – key learnings
In conclusion, convenient legal cannabis supply is an essential but insufficient condition for reducing the criminal market. It is equally important to determine whether high availability is also associated with higher cannabis-related usage and its effects.
Decades of alcohol study have demonstrated the worth of legal market regulations. The most significant factors influencing use and its effects on health are marketing regulations, pricing, and availability. It is still unclear how various cannabis market laws will affect consumer behaviour and health effects. The results of legalising cannabis for medical use indicate that more access to medical cannabis dispensaries is linked to higher consumption and more admissions for cannabis use disorder. As we already know, governments and organisations are active in gathering knowledge and regulating cannabis and hemp markets.