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.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.