Researchers have found that the risk of depression increases for teens using marijuana, as well as the risk of drug dependency, suicide, or trying other drugs. They are also less likely to succeed at their studies than those teens who avoid using marijuana.
Scientists said that the analysis of studies of cannabis was important, because the long term health and life effects need to be understood since several countries have plans to relax their current legislation on the drug.
“Our findings are particularly timely given that several U.S. states and countries in Latin America have made moves to decriminalize or legalize cannabis, raising the possibility the drug might become more accessible to young people,” said Richard Mattick, a professor at Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, who co-led the study.
Using data from three large and long-running studies, the researchers found that people who smoke cannabis daily before the age of 17 are more than 60 percent less likely to complete high school or obtain a university degree.
The meta-analysis also indicated that daily users of cannabis during adolescence are seven times more likely to attempt suicide, have an 18 times greater chance of cannabis dependence, and are eight times as likely to use other illicit drugs in later life.
“Policymakers need to be aware that early use of cannabis is associated with a range of negative outcomes for young adults that affect their health, wellbeing, and also their achievements,” said Edmund Silins, also of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, who presented the findings in a media teleconference.
Recent data show that young people in some countries are starting to use cannabis at a younger age than before and that more adolescents are using cannabis heavily.