Population Health and Policy Research Group

With the growing legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in the United States, views on risks and benefits, as well as use patterns, are shifting among the adult population. Overall US adults have a more favorable view of marijuana use than is warranted by the evidence. Examining trends in public opinion are important for informing public health communication strategies.

Population Health and Policy Website

Areas of Focus

Public Opinion: Marijuana and Health

We are conducting a national survey on use of marijuana and public opinion on risks and benefits in the US. With the growing legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in the United States, views on risks and benefits, as well as use patterns, are shifting among the adult population. To determine American beliefs about the effect of marijuana on individual and public health, we have created a national survey administered to a sample of adults 18 and older across the country.

Evidence Review

Understanding the gaps in evidence on the health effects of marijuana use is an important first step in identifying important areas of investigations. We have ongoing systematic reviews examining what is known about the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and carcinogenic effects of marijuana use.

Marijuana use and Cardiovascular Health

Marijuana is the most common illegal substance used worldwide with increasing use among the US population. While the physical harms of marijuana outside of its neurocognitive effects have been inadequately studied, there is a perception that it is safe and has health benefits. One area of particular concern is the effect of marijuana use on cardiovascular health. To address the extensive gap in the literature on the potential cardiovascular harms of marijuana, we have proposed to construct a cohort of older patients with established coronary artery disease. Our main goal in this ongoing study is to examine if marijuana use independently increases the risk of cardiovascular events among patients with established CAD even after adjusting for baseline differences. Any effect of marijuana on cardiovascular health would have a substantial public health impact given that cardiovascular disease is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in the US.

This work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health R01HL130484 (Principal Investigator: Salomeh Keyhani MD, MPH).