Marijuana is not as bad as people think it is. At least this is the result of a study conducted by Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University. The study found absolutely no link between chronic marijuana use and physical or mental health issues. The study, however, did not include teenage girls.
The study involved long-term observation of 408 male participants from adolescence into their 30s. Four groups were designed based on marijuana use: non-users and low users, early chronic users, those who smoked only during adolescence and those who started in their teens and continued until their adulthood.
Early chronic users had an increased marijuana use during their teenage years: up to 200 or more days per year on average by the end of 22. The more they smoked, the more they wanted.
This research was a branch of the Pittsburg Youth Study. Fourteen year old students from public schools were tracked starting with the year 1980 and were questioned annually or once every six months. The follow-up survey was conducted in 2009-2010, when the participants had reached the age of 36.
According to earlier studies, marijuana was expected to lead to asthma, other respiratory problems, psychotic problems or even cancer. But researchers have found absolutely no link between the two.
Lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, a psychology research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, admitted to have been surprised by the study’s result. He stated that there were no differences in between the 18 year olds they had started the experiment with and the men they interviewed in 2010.
Needless to say, no connection was found between teen marijuana use and headaches, allegories, high blood pressure, anxiety or even depression. Factors that could have contributed to the alteration of the results were cigarette smoking, drug use or access to health insurance, but researches checked them and nothing out of the ordinary was found.
Bechtold said that one of the aims of the research was to help inform the debate about marijuana legalization, but he does point out that one study alone cannot provide enough evidence for such a highly debated subject.
Perhaps in time we will be able to better understand if marijuana is a “border drug” or not. But until then we only have studies that do not provide concrete evidence and that might just be mildly altered either by preconceptions or by the desire to maintain awareness and stay healthy.
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