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2015-08-19

Teen Cannabis Use Lacks Long-Term Consequences

Cannabis use has not only been proven to be safe, but also multitudes of order less damaging to society and personal health than alcohol and tobacco. The only real controversy--in my opinion--is with respect to long-term consequences from usage in teenage years. This study adds some more evidence that cannabis use in teenagers is safe and lacks long-term consequences, very similar to another study I covered a few months back (click HERE for that study).

However, even though this was a well-designed study that overcame many of the limitations of prior studies, I urge caution in allowing teenagers to use cannabis freely--there's just too much conflicting information at this time. As for adults, those who know me will know I'm a big advocate, and based on its safety profile and medicinal benefits, I say most adults can use it freely as desired.

Now let's take a closer look at this current study...

According to the results of this new study, there was more confirmation that using cannabis during adolescence does not appear to increase the risk for later physical or mental health issues such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma, Even though this flies in the face of some prior research, it's not the first study to suggest a lack of real/significant long-term negative consequences.

"What we found was a little surprising," said the lead researcher, "There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence."

For this study the researchers divided over 400 boys into four groups on the basis of their reported marijuana use:
  1. low use or nonuse (46%)
  2. early long-term use (22%)
  3. those who only smoked marijuana during adolescence (11%)
  4. those who began using marijuana later in their teen years and continued using (21%)
After controlling for multiple potential confounding variables, such as use of alcohol, tobacco, and hard drugs and socioeconomic status, long-term marijuana users were not more likely than late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, or low/nonusers to suffer several physical or mental health problems in their mid-30s.

"In fact, there were no significant differences between marijuana trajectory groups in terms of adult health outcomes, even when models were run without controlling for potential confounds," the researchers note in their article.

"This is particularly striking given that men in the early onset chronic group were using marijuana (on average) once per week by late adolescence and continued using marijuana approximately 3 -4 times a week from age 20 to 26 years," they write. There were no differences in the findings based on race or ethnicity.

The mental health outcomes included anxiety and mood and psychotic disorders. The physical health outcomes included asthma, allergies, headaches, high blood pressure, limitations in physical activities, physical injuries, and concussions.

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Source: Chronic Adolescent Marijuana Use as a Risk Factor for Physical and Mental Health Problems in Young Adult Men

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