Teens who are dependent on cannabis and alcohol are more likely to face social and economic challenges later on in life, according to a new study that arguably underscores the need for proper regulatory frameworks around cannabis.
UConn Health researchers analyzed data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) in search of the effects that teenage alcohol and cannabis use have on educational achievement, full time employment, marriage and social economic potential.
The study covered 1,165 young U.S. adults initially assessed at age 12 and then at two-year intervals until they were 25-34. Most of the participants had an alcoholic relative.
Generally, teens dependent on cannabis or alcohol achieved lower levels of education, were less likely to have full time employment, were less likely to get married and had lower social economic potential. Young men were found to be more susceptible to the negative effects of dependence, going on to achieve less across all four measures.
"This study found that chronic marijuana use in adolescence was negatively associated with achieving important developmental milestones in young adulthood,” said study author Elizabeth Harari.
“Awareness of marijuana's potentially deleterious effects will be important moving forward, given the current move in the US toward marijuana legalization for medicinal and possibly recreational use.”
The study is ongoing, with researchers now exploring the differences in experiences between dependent men and dependent women, along with the differences between alcohol and cannabis dependence.
As a general rule, health officials recommend putting off cannabis use until age 25 while the brain is still developing.
Of course, it’s the kind of recommendation that would be a lot easier to enforce – and, more importantly, educate on – with the proper legislative framework in place.
h/t Science Daily