The Possible Effects of Marijuana Use Among Adolescents

The Possible Effects of Marijuana Use Among Adolescents

Ray Lozano

Is marijuana use safe for long term use among adolescents? The evidence is often inconclusive, and difficult to comprehend. Recent studies show, however, that there may be a link to marijuana use and psychosis and even mortality.

Based on a recent article in the American Journal of Psychiatry it is reported that regular marijuana use among teenagers is linked to subclinical psychosis symptoms. Research suggests that regular marijuana usage may contribute to paranoid behavior, even hallucinations, as well as other subclinical forms of psychosis. What’s also interesting is that these symptoms may occur even after a certain period of non-use.

To put things into perspective, the article concludes that the “regular marijuana use may significantly increase the risk that an adolescent will experience persistent subclinical psychotic symptoms.”

The study examined young boys 1th – 7th grade who used marijuana. With every year that passed their psychotic symptoms increased by 21% and the likelihood of hallucinations and paranoia increased by 133% and 92% respectively.

In addition to that, a cohort study involving 50,373 Swedish men found a link between early marijuana use and mortality. This suggests that those individuals with history of cannabis use in adolescence are more likely to die earlier. The results should, however, be taken with with a grain of salt, as it states in the report: “the results should be interpreted with caution because of a lack of information on confounders in the period after conscription.“ 


 

Links used:

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.14050637

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15070878