Study: Teen Pot Smokers Turn Out A-OK

Results of 22-year study are 'a little surprising,' say researchers
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2015 11:55 AM CDT
Study: Teen Pot Smokers Turn Out A-OK
A young man smokes a joint at a park in Montevideo, Uruguay, Saturday, May 3, 2014.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campondonico)

Previous studies have found teen marijuana use could result in cancer, asthma, respiratory problems, and psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations over time. That's why researchers say the results of a new long-term study following teen pot smokers into their 30s are "a little surprising." Researchers who analyzed 408 males for health and social issues from age 14 to 26, then checked back in with the participants at age 36, found no connection between pot use and any of the aforementioned conditions. Not only that, the study in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors—an extension of the Pittsburgh Youth Study of the 1980s—also found no apparent link between smoking marijuana as a teen and later depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches, or high blood pressure, according to a press release.

The participants—54% black, 42% white—were classed into four groups: those who rarely or never used marijuana (46%); chronic users who started using the drug early (22%); those who picked up the habit as an adult (21%); and those who smoked marijuana only in their youth (11%). "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," a researcher explains. That means chronic users who smoked the drug 200 days a year on average at age 22 were no more likely to have health problems than those who rarely or never picked up a joint. Researchers say the study should "help inform the debate about legalization of marijuana," but "should not be taken in isolation" as negative health effects may appear in those with a genetic liability, per Medical Daily. (Marijuana apparently heals broken bones.)

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