Study: Adolescent Marijuana Use Not Associated With Health Problems In Early Adulthood

Marijuana use by adolescents, including self-reported chronic use, is not associated with adverse health effects later in life, according to an assessment of longitudinal data published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators from the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University prospectively examined whether young men who consumed cannabis during adolescence and/or young adulthood experienced a heightened risk of developing physical and mental health problems in their mid-30s. Researchers controlled for several potential confounding factors, including subjects’ socioeconomic status, co-occurring use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and access to medical care and health insurance.

Researchers reported that marijuana users, including chronic users, were no more likely to self-report experiencing physical or mental health issues than were non-users. Investigators further reported that early onset chronic marijuana use was not associated with an increased risk for the development of depression or anxiety disorders in early adulthood.

The findings contradicted researchers’ initial hypothesis, as their stated motivation for conducting the study was to “provide empirical evidence regarding the potential adverse consequences of marijuana legalization.”

Authors concluded: “The present study used prospective, longitudinal data that spanned more than 20 years to examine whether patterns of marijuana use from adolescence to young adulthood were related to indicators of physical and mental health in adulthood. … Overall, data from this sample provide little to no evidence to suggest that patterns of marijuana use from adolescence to young adulthood … were negatively related to the indicators of physical or mental health studied. … 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.”

Full text of the study, “Chronic adolescent marijuana use as a risk factor for physical and mental health problems in young adult men,” appears online here.

25 thoughts

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing this evidence presented in some new and updated potumentaries. If the network news channels would do some specials that are essentially pro-legalization that would add momentum to what the cable specials on CNBC,History, H2, NatGeo, MSNBC, CNN have been doing to educate the public.

  2. Eat your heart out NIDA. The studies are out.

    A young adolescent male is on average the most cannabinoid deficient and aggressive he will be in his entire life. How did those school children put it on John Oliver’s coverage of DC Statehood on Last Week Tonight? Oh yes,
    “Let them have weed!”

    (If we can let 1st grade boys play full-tackle football, by God we can let teenagers injured with football concussions off the hook for smoking weed under the bleachers…)

  3. I’m 59 now and have been using cannabis regularly since age 15! I am in excellent health and do not take any other drugs of any kind. If anything of the negative things the Feds have said about marijuana were true my condition would not be possible. It is just so obvious that they have been lying about it all these years that they just look like a bunch of total idiots; those that continue to cling to the prohibition approach (like Mitt Romney, Chris Christy, Santorum, Andy Harris… to name a few).

    Just how much longer America will put up with these fools is the big question!

  4. If you think, being a doctor or researcher for example, of people as arms and legs with a thinking box on top, and that you can look inside that box and rate a person, I disagree. People are societal not monolithic. The earth functions as one ancient mind. The people who smoked pot as kids are the artists now, and the straight youth are our managers and government officials. An artist being open minded can self-report a mental health issue, but managers and government officials can’t afford the bad rap.

  5. Well NIDA’s fussin and a cussin
    Fillin Kids with Robotussin
    While prohibition just don’t feel right
    Teens are huffin and a puffin
    An theyre listenin to nothin
    At the DARE program tonight…
    Now their brains are advancin
    With this weed theyre romancin
    And it looks like the ends in sight
    Voter initiative is sendin
    NIDA into surrendin
    And it looks like they lost a fight…

    So we were vapin and a smokin
    While the DEA is chokin
    For bad high-teen soundbite
    But all the seizures its a curin
    And the soldiers its a lurin
    From an opiate suicide
    Is finally confrontin
    All the taxes NIDA’s huntin
    On a fact that they can’t deny…

    Cannabis is Medicine
    Prohibition is a Sin
    And it looks like they lost a fight…

  6. All my lyrics are open source to be shared, neither bought nor sold, just as U.S. patent 6630507 for cannabinoids as neuroprotectants owned by the Department of Health and Human Services must be. “Let them have weed!”

  7. Bobwv.

    Try being a parent, and taking responsibility for the manor you raise your children.

  8. Bobwv.

    Try being a parent, and taking responsibility for the manor you raise your children. General statement I assume that your being sarcastic

  9. @bobwv – I think that it is better for the children if their parents aren’t locked up in prison or jail. It is better for them if their parents assets haven’t been allocated; leaving little $$$ to take care of them.

    The people of this country, every country really, would all be better off if ignorant war-mongering Govt forces would all leave us alone! Why can’t they just let us leave in peace?

  10. Im pretty sure bobwv was just being sarcastic people.
    Kinda like when I said that NIDA is filling kids with Robot-tussin, which is even more ironic when we consider it has alcohol in it. And back when cannabis was just another herb in a doctors medicine box and the UN hadn’t started the drug war, American parents were giving tablespoons of opium to our kids for general remedies..
    Considering the media attention on what whole plant cannabis does for epileptic children and the endorsement from just about every American Pediatric institution, I think its time for us to evolve our medical practices again. Prohibitionists are just not going to win an argument telling us marijuana causes brain damage in adolescent developing minds when the U.S. Patent on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants from our own Department of Health and Human Services tells us the exact opposite. Pass the CARERS Act, consume a little cannabis and call me in the morning. This debate is over, Congress.

  11. I am a social conservative who has always been “anti-drug.” I never even would have considered supporting the legalization of cannabis. But in the past few years my position on several social issues has been changing. It took me time to get on board with marriage equality. I’m just starting to accept single motherhood by choice and other “non-traditional” forms of family life. I’m intrigued by the possibility that I may have been wrong about cannabis also Would someone be able to recommend an introductory book on the subject of why it should be legalized? I’m trying to evolve and become more 21st century in my thinking and it looks as if legalization has history on its side.

  12. Folks, he stole that from “18330507 Let Them Have Braaaaaaaaahms!”

    To Social Conservative: legalizing cannabis will help millions get CONSERVATIVE control over dosage– “Paraphernalia” laws will disappear and no one will be afraid to be seen possessing or using a 25-mg-single-toke FlexDrawTube One-Hitter (till now harder to hide than a Joint (500-mg $igarette) therefore making the latter popular mainly for fear of the Law and wishing concealment). “Safety (from the Law) through Hurried Puffgulp Overdose” will disappear from history and individuals will instead discover what their hands and metabolism can achieve in 90 minutes after one (1) 25-mg toke (or maybe two).

    Please assess and, if you can, contribute to One-Hitter construction how-to wiki article at “12 Ways to Make Pipes from Everyday Objects”.

  13. Who would’ve thought?
    I knida figured, that was another thing that was maybe made up. The only place it stunts education, is with teens who let Pot prioritize their lives. Smart kids will still study, and do well in school. Cannabis or no cannabis. It is just another one of those things, that the Government tries to push, to keep it illegal.

  14. @Mary

    You’ve come to the right place, Mary. Browse this NORML site for fun and info. You should be able to learn enough to google the subject further if interested.

    Some of the folks who often comment here seem pretty well versed in the subject. Maybe one of them will give you a good, old fashioned, direct- from-the-lips-of-a-human response.

  15. Education is the key, prohibition only works to keep down the masses through fear and intimidation.

  16. FDA just approved oxycontin as you as 11 years old!!! Are you fucking kidding me.

    Well there go’s the “what about the children” argument from anti marijuana advocates. Clearly you don’t give 2 shits about our children in this country. What’s next reduce the minimum age of drinking and smoking cigarettes to 11 years old too.

    Give me US a break, reschedule marijuana immediately to counter act the ill effects these opioids are going to cause. 44 people overdose from prescription pail killers EVERY DAY in the USA. That’s was yesterday in 18 and older crowd.

    Oww your child has seizures…. here give them prescription HERION! Oww and marijuana is still illegal and we will take your children away and put you in prison if try to use this PROVEN safer alternative.

    Everyone on the doard of director & upper management the FDA need to be fired and arrested for crimes against humanity SERIOUSLY!!!

  17. I completely agree with “The apparent outsider”. I have had Treatment-Resistant Crohn’s Disease (& a severe case at that) for almost 17 years, & we couldn’t even diagnose it for 2-3 YEARS! So really it’s about 20 years. I’m only 28. I have tried literally every drug on the market for it,including countless FDA trials, even every alternative medicine, every possible med to stop the vomiting, or at least ease the nausea. I have thrown up several times a day, every day, for the past 8 years. So much so, this week I had to have most of my teeth pulled due to quote “acid erosion from bile”. Not that any insurance would cover it. I visit the hospital almost weekly for IV fluids for dehydration. Sometimes so extreme they have to use my neck vein because the dehydration makes the veins collapse & shred when poked with a needle. I also have had to rely on TPN (Artificial food pumped straight into your heart, it looks like thick milk), more than a bakers dozen of times. Because NOTHING stopped the CONSTANT Nausea & vomiting, & my intestines are too scarred from ulcers to absorb anything. I have developed several chronic health conditions from the malnutrition & dehydration. Peripheral Neuropathy, Arthritis, Hypo-glycemic, anemia, Fibromyalgia, Severe Muscle Spasms, Mini Seizures & NUMEROUS other vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I also have stage 4 Scoliosis & have broken several bones VERY easily. I take 50mg Phenergan shots in my hip every 4-8 hours, which causes even more nerve damage, & STILL doesn’t stop the vomiting, just lessons it a little. I take 52 pills a day, & at my lowest point weighed 79 lbs. The hospital & my Dr.’s gave up on me & sent me home on “Palliative End Care”, where a nurse comes twice a day to inject the TPN & fluids. They LITERALLY sent me home to DIE! I have 3 children, 8 years, 6 years, & only 9 months! No one EVER suggested Cannabis to me even though I was dying. I have never smoked, drank, or done drugs, & I believed all the lies about Cannabis. But as my husband & I were crying over my will, we decided to just try it since there was nothing else to lose. IT SAVED MY LIFE!!! It COMPLETELY took away the vomiting & most nausea. I don’t usually have stomach pain anymore either! I also no longer have seizures, have MUCH improved Muscle Spasms, & for the first time in at least 10 years, I have an appetite! Which means I can now eat, drink, & NOT throw it up! It is an absolute MIRACLE FROM JESUS! Now all my vitamin/mineral deficiencies are on the way to being corrected. When I think of everything I have lost & suffered simply because big pharma doesn’t want this legalized, I can’t help but to cry. My life could have been completely different. Not to mention I know there are so many out there suffering like this for NO REASON! Prohibition of Cannabis IS a sin!!! A HUGE one!!!

  18. @life giving medicine.

    My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Sadly your one of MANY who’ve suffered unmeasurable pain due the “war on drugs” A.K.A war on Marijuana.

    I’m very happy to hear your doing better, and look forward to hearing, seeing, and living in a country where marijuana is medicine.

  19. Thanks. It feels great to finally tell the truth. But I’m scared of what happens when I run out, & I’m scared of getting my children yanked out of my arms, or being thrown in prison where I would SURELY die. Literally, just from denying me Cannabis. I’ve gone without it many times to test to see if that’s what it was or not , or a placebo effect even. But it’s obviously the real deal. If I go without it for even several hours, ALL I do is throw up, even when I can’t eat or drink, my stomach fills with bile & acid & I just throw that up over & over again. Then I did my OWN research on Cannabis myself & everything I’ve ever been told about it are Bold-faced LIES. This isn’t opinion anymore, it’s scientific fact that is continuously reproducable in lab after lab. Most people, even in this group, don’t know our bodies make it naturally, it runs actual functions too, like appetite & other things. They also don’t know that the FDA made a weight loss pill trial that BLOCKS all Cannabinoids. ALL of the experiment group lost plenty of weight alright; then they all DIED! Even fewer know breast milk is mostly Cannabinoids & fat! It’s something humans have been consuming in various ways, since the oldest civilizations we’ve found. It’s only been about 100 years that it’s been banned thanks to the ill-informed, butt-kissing Harry J Anslinger decided we needed a task force

    to get rid of it. They taught my sons in school about “Reefer Madness” & all that bullshit. We can’t say ANYTHING without offending someone these days, especially African-Americans, yet “Reefer Madness” was ACTUALLY all about the white men being scared Cannabis use led to black men thinking they could have sex with white women, & white women’s use led to being seduced by black men! I swear! It’s unbelievable! And NO, I don’t condone segregation. I’ve also studied the near endless health benefits of Cannabis, for preventative, current, & after care! It also kills cancer, & has NUMEROUS other functions such as: an actual mostly complete food, amazing fuel alternative, beauty products, & hemp has NUMEROUS uses as well. This is one of the best-kept secrets in the world! It’s just like having a real relationship with Jesus, If only the people knew the truth! It couldn’t be a more profitable product, so I can’t understand why the MoneyBags of the World won’t get on board! It’s even recession proof! It cost less to grow than tobacco, yet we pay more for it, even less costly if they don’t do like tobacco & add all kinds of chemicals. Not to mention, health wise: tobacco bad, Cannabis good,especially CBD. In fact, if they are simply worried about people getting high, it’s the THC that does that, not that it doesn’t do its part, but CBD gives healing with NO high. Why can’t we at least have that? I understand that big pharma & the war on drugs is lucrative, but if you run the numbers, they would actually make MORE money than they do now, off of legalization! Look at all the evidence of other countries, or even some of our own states. The ones at the top are either too evil or too stupid to not legalize. I sure thought their greed would win us the weed, even if only for the sick. They took my children’s mother away from them & made them see things they never should have. It’s a Major Crime Against Humanity, but most of us would still be willing to forgive if only they made it legal. Tax it, whatever, just legalize it. And no more job discrimination over it! I don’t consider that legal! We can smoke, drink alcohol (about the worst culprit ever!), take as many prescriptions, & overload on caffeine, which is still a drug, ALL WE WANT. ALL of them are horrible for your health, while Cannabis does NOTHING but good! You literally can’t intake enough in ANY form to die, it’s IMPOSSIBLE! But if your levels get too LOW, you die! We have too many Cannabinoid Receptors throughout our whole body to ever take in enough that your body didn’t already have a PRE-DESIGNATED place for it to go. I’m scared to be speaking out, Jesus won’t leave me alone until I tell others what He has done for me, what cannabis has done for me. So I’m relying on Him to protect me because it was HIS idea! lol Sorry for the long length.

  20. I tend to disagree with this post on the basis that although there may be difficult physical changes to pin-point, the real danger is that the adolescent doesn’t develop the personal and social skills required to deal with life in their adult years. Particularly if marijuana is abused to the point where you spend more time high then not..

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