There’s good news for people who use marijuana during their teenage years. A new study shows that there’s no link between use of the drug and mental health issues and suggests such usage does not have other long-term health effects.
The study, which was recently published by the American Physiological Association, was carried out by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University. Researchers examined data associated with over 400 men who were tracked from their teenage years until their mid-30s.
Participants were placed in groups based on the amount of marijuana they used during that time. The groups included low or non users; early chronic users; those who smoked only during their teenage years; and those who used marijuana consistently between their teenage years and adulthood.
Participants were asked to check in with the research team at least once a year, with some surveyed semi-annually. The last part of the study was carried out in 2010, when most of the participants had reached age 36.
Many of the researchers involved in the study admitted their expected to find links between marijuana usage and serious health issues, like cancer, asthma, and respiratory problems. However, the study showed no link between smoking weed and these issues.
Furthermore, there was nothing to suggest that marijuana users were at an increased risk of developing serious psychotic problems, like depression or anxiety. “What we found was a little surprising,” noted lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, a psychology research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount of frequency of marijuana used during adolescence.”