Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences


Public Health


Even though cannabis’ federal status remains under Schedule I categorization the legality of recreational marijuana is rapidly changing across the United States. As of March 2021, sixteen states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis’ recreational use and dispensaries (DISA Global Solutions, 2021). Considerable controversy follows this trend in drug legalization, specifically regarding its public health impact on children. As states continue to proceed with the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis, those in the public health field are concerned with how this will impact children across the country, as historically, “adolescents and young adults are among the highest users of marijuana” (Ladegard et al., 2020). A comprehensive review on cannabis, focusing on both its history and legal landscape in the United States will be presented. Additionally, cannabis’ use in pediatric and adolescent cases will be analyzed to determine the trajectory of cannabis use for these patients. Ultimately, this paper will investigate if medical cannabis utilization in pediatric and adolescent populations potentiates the need for these patients to use cannabis in the future, especially if it is recreationally legal. After much research it is reasoned that medicinal cannabis should continue to be an alternative treatment option for those pediatric and adolescent cases in which normal treatments are ineffective. However, more research is needed to investigate the potential impact cannabis legalization can have on adolescent populations already being prescribed cannabinoids.

Included in

Public Health Commons