Read the journal article
- Chronic Adolescent Marijuana Use as a Risk Factor for Physical and Mental Health Problems in Young Adult Men (PDF, 243KB)
August 4, 2015
Teen Marijuana Use Not Linked to Later Depression, Lung Cancer, Other Health Problems, Research Finds
Study contradicts some prior marijuana research
WASHINGTON — Chronic marijuana use by teenage boys does not appear to be linked to later physical or mental health issues such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University tracked 408 males from adolescence into their mid-30s for the study, which was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors®.
“What we found was a little surprising,” said lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, PhD, 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 or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence.”
Marijuana use has undergone intense scrutiny as several states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug, prompting the researchers to examine whether teen marijuana use has long-term health consequences. Based on some prior studies, they expected to find a link between teen marijuana use and the later development of psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, etc.), cancer, asthma or respiratory problems, but they found none. The study also found no link between teen marijuana use and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure. This study is one of just a few studies on the long-term health effects of teen marijuana use that have tracked hundreds of participants for more than two decades of their lives, Bechtold said.