Social factors in marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes

Published:January 26, 2017DOI:


      • A sociological framework for conceptualizing cannabis use in the US is presented.
      • The evolution of the sociocultural perspectives on cannabis use is explored.
      • Trends in cannabis use for recreational/medical use and public views are reviewed.
      • Current policy, legal, and economic issues are discussed.
      • Directions for research on social factors in cannabis use in epilepsy are outlined.


      Of all the various treatment options for epilepsy, no other therapy comes close to the polarity that cannabis engenders. The rationale for this reaction is firmly rooted in the social factors that enshroud the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. In order to best understand how to approach this controversial treatment, it is essential to explore the social, demographic, and historical variables that have led to the current opinions on cannabis therapy and how this has converged on epilepsy treatment. Utilizing a sociological conceptual framework, this review discusses in depth the social, cultural, and historical dimensions of cannabis use in the US for medical purposes and its impact on epilepsy treatment. Moreover, it posits that cannabis therapy and the opinions surrounding its use are products of history and assesses this treatment option through the lens of our current times.
      This article is part of a Special Issue titled Cannabinoids and Epilepsy.


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