Trying marijuana at an early age can result in poor health and a lower success in education, according to a study conducted by researchers at St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) and University of Victoria.
The study followed a cohort of 662 young people over ten years. Dr. Kara Thompson, a psychology professor at St. FX and Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater (University of Victoria) have interviewed the students between 12-18 years old at the beginning of the study (2003).
Every two years, the participants were asked about substance use, mental health, accomplishments, and health. The researchers looked at how the use of substance unfolded over time and how it influenced people in their teen years and young adulthood. Dr. Leadbeater stated:
“We hear a lot of talk about risks for youth using cannabis, especially with legalization around the corner, but our understanding of patterns of cannabis use among Canadian youth over time and the consequences of use is actually quite limited.”
So, they researched on how young Canadians are affected when using cannabis and how it contributes to their mental health and well-being.
Poor Mental Health, Behavior Problems and Low Level of Education and Employment
The professors conducted two studies, which showed five patterns of cannabis used. Almost 30% of the subjects used cannabis frequently in their teens, using more than once a week by young adulthood. They were classified as high-risk:
“These risky patterns of use were associated with the poorest health outcomes in young adulthood, including higher levels of substance use disorders, mental health and behavior problems, as well as lower levels of educational and employment outcomes.”
The group that was considered a high-risk also used other substances in their teens and experienced multiple behavioural problems, stated Dr. Thompson:
“An effective public health approach to reducing cannabis for youth will need to acknowledge the contexts and co-occurring problems that accompany risky cannabis use in young people.”
The aim of the study is to help government and public health practitioners with more information on cannabis effects for future cannabis policies.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere