A new study has found that teens who smoke marijuana are not suffering from depression, anxiety, psychotic symptoms or any other mental or emotional issue. Even chronic marijuana use could not be linked to current or future mental or physical (asthma) health issues.
It’s worth mentioning that the study only looked at teenage boys. It is unknown as of yet if marijuana use is also harmless to teenage girls.
For their study, a team of researchers from Rutgers University and the Medical Center from the University of Pittsburgh picked out 408 male subjects and tracked them for 20 years, from their teen years into their mid 30s.
As a measure of control, the subjects were split into four (4) different groups – those who rarely or never smoked marijuana, those who frequently smoked marijuana in their teen years, those who only started smoking marijuana in their adult years, and those who started smoking marijuana in their late teens and kept smoking throughout adulthood.
The findings were as positive as they were unexpected as Dr. Jordan Bechtold, lead researcher, psychology experts and researcher from the Medical Center from the University of Pittsburgh, gave a statement saying that “What we found was a little surprising. 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”.
Previous studies concluded that there were some mental and physical health issues that were associated with chronic marijuana use during teenage years. Depression, schizophrenia, respiratory disease, cancer and asthma were all thought to develop later in life due to chronic marijuana use during a person’s formative years.
But the researcher team found no such link. Lifetime anxiety, depression, headaches, allegories and dangerous blood pressure levels were proven to be myths in the case of marijuana users. Even when the researchers took into account other influential factors such as the use of other illicit drugs, smoking cigarettes and a subject’s access to health insurance, the findings stayed the same.
The new study is a continuation of an old study from the 1980s. Back then, researchers from the University Of Pittsburg looked at the state’s youth and tracked a group of 14 year old male subjects who went to public schools. The subjects were interviewed either annually or semiannually, with the final follow up interview being conducted between the years of 2009 and 2010, when all of the subjects had reached the age of 36.
But what’s unique about the study is that it followed its subjects as they grew up, whereas most studies conducted so far have interviewed grown ups who were asked to look back on their teenage years and answer questions about their marijuana use as best as they could remember. These answers would then be compared to current health issues in order to see if an association can be found.
While Dr. Bechtold and his team admit that we should not look at the results off a single study and ignore all of the previous research, they also point out that marijuana may not be as harmful as some people suggest and that there’s no need to exaggerate the effects it has on teens.
They went on to explain that they conducted the study precisely because they want to help inform state officials who are currently debating the legalization of marijuana.
The study was published by the American Physiological Association.