Study finds that teen marijuana use is not linked to issues of mental health

marijuana plants

According to a new study, chronic use of marijuana by teenage boys did not appear to be linked to mental physical health issues like depression, asthma, or psychotic symptoms in later stages of life.  However, the study that is published by the American Physiological Association did not examine teenage girls.

Researchers from Rutgers University and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center compiled the data by tracking some 408 male candidates from adolescent ages to the mid 30s. The study participants were segregated into 4 groups based on the level of marijuana use as reported by them and defined as low  or non users, early and chronic users, participants who smoked only during their adolescent ages, and those who started using marijuana only late into their teen ages and continued doing so through adulthood.  Higher use of marijuana was reported by early chronic users with the consumption increasing through teens to peak at over 200 days in an year on average when they reached the age of 22 years.

The study was part of the Pittsburg Youth Study that tracked 14 year old male students in public schools of Pittsburgh during late 1980s, says a news release.  Participants were surveyed every year or once every six months and follow up surveys were conducted in 2009-2010 when the participants had reached 36 years of age.

Relying on the results from prior studies, the study authors expected a link between marijuana use by teens and development of cancer, psychotic symptoms, respiratory problems or asthma in the later stages of their lives.  However, the researchers did not find any such link.

Jordan Bechtold, the lead researcher also stated that what was indeed observed from the study was a bit surprising.  The study could not find any difference in any of physical or mental health outcomes that were measured irrespective of the frequency or quantum of marijuana used during the adolescent days.

Further the researchers found no link between anxiety, lifetime depression, headaches, high blood pressure, or allergies and marijuana use during teen days. The team also factored in other attributes like cigarette smoking, use of illicit drugs and access to health insurance, as influencers.

The purpose of the research was to provide helpful information on legalization of marijuana, but it turned out to be pretty complicate and this singular study cannot be taken in isolation- says Bechtold.