There has been a long-running discussion around whether or not cannabis consumption leads young people to act out. And as it turns out, it does not.
"Cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to lead to greater conduct problems or association with cannabis‐using peers apart from pre‐existing conduct problems," says a new study published by a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The researchers came to this conclusion by analyzing data on 364 adolescents collected by the Philadelphia Trajectory Study in 2004. The data was clear: cannabis consumption does not seem to lead teens to behavioral issues. However, the researchers did find that the reverse appears to be true.
"The present findings showed that…conduct problems predicted cannabis use but not vice versa, particularly during mid–late adolescence," the researchers wrote. "We were able to demonstrate for the first time that increases in conduct problems precede increases in cannabis use within individuals."
The study also examined what leads young cannabis consumers to develop cannabis use disorder. And again, young consumers with previously existing conduct problems were the most likely to develop unhealthy cannabis habits. Teens with friends who consume cannabis may also develop a cannabis use disorder as well. However, adolescents with conduct problems "are susceptible to more cannabis use and CUD regardless of whether or not their friends are increasingly using it," proving that peer relations are only one piece of the issue.
The researchers believe that youth with conduct problems are probably turning to cannabis as a coping mechanism, and ultimately need better resources to help them deal with the root issues.
h/t Marijuana Moment