Legalizing the medical use of cannabis has not led to a surge in the numbers of adolescents using it in the USA, according to new research that surprised its authors and will encourage those hoping for relaxation of the law elsewhere.

Analyzing data from a national study called Monitoring the Future, which collects information from 50,000 pupils aged 13 to 18 in the 8th, 10th and 12th grade (years 9, 11 and 13 in Britain) every year, they found there had not been a rise even after taking into account individual, school and state-level factors that can affect marijuana use (such as age, ethnicity, public or private school and proportion of each state’s population that was male or white).

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