Here’s a million dollar question for you – does smoking weed as a youngster adversely affect your chances of success, health and happiness in later life? For years now, decades even, this is a debate that has raged rather ferociously all over the world. Cannabis critics and those who continue to oppose recent cannabis reforms insist that there is something of a sliding scale when it comes to marijuana use as a teenager and the likelihood of poor outcomes in later life. What’s more, this tends to be one of the primary arguments cited by those who support and in many cases implement punishments for pot use by youngsters, but with anything from imprisonment to job losses to expulsion from school and so on.
The problem has always been, and to some extent remains today, the fact that the vast majority of evidence cited by those who oppose weed legalization is either circumstantial or flawed in some way. In fact to be perfectly honest you would be hard-pressed to call it evidence in any way, shape or form as what it tends to be is a case of pigeon holing all marijuana smokers as reprobates that will only ever go on to experience any kind of unfortunate things as adults.
The good news however is that in order to put at least a little science and fact to the subject, a team of researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Pittsburgh medical centre decided to carry out a research project following over 400 boys from their teenage years to their mid-thirties. The purpose of the study was to identify whether and to what extent marijuana use at various levels affected the physical and mental health of the individuals in question in their later life. Of course it would have been anything but surprising to note a slight difference at least between the health of those who smoked plenty of weed and those who smoked none at all, but when the results were collated, the scientists behind the project admitted that they were more than a little surprising.
“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,” wrote lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, PhD.
As far as those who oppose marijuana legalization are concerned, using drugs as an adolescent is pretty much a sure-fire and guaranteed recipe for adult life of disappointment and wasted opportunities. But the truth of the matter is quite different as while there may still be plenty of un-investigated theories and ideas, the vast majority of evidence produced to date by way of scientific studies suggests that marijuana use has absolutely no effect of a detrimental nature long term.
Even when factoring in a variety of other important variables including Health Insurance, use of other drugs and smoker status, the study still brought to light a series of eye-opening findings:
“The trajectory groups were not significantly different in terms of self-reported asthma, allergies, headaches, and high blood pressure. The groups also did not differ in terms of having a current health condition that limited their physical activities, having a serious physical injury in the past year, or having a prior history of concussion,” the team reported.
“There were no marijuana trajectory group differences related to a lifetime diagnosis of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, or psychotic disorders.”
Of course, the scientists were sure to point out the fact that some prior studies have drawn links between excessive and constant marijuana use over elongated periods of time, though in this instance the focus was on more normal levels of consumption.