A new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has found no link between teen marijuana use and mental health issues.
Scientists studying the effects of marijuana on developing minds have reportedly found no link between teen use and the onset of depression, psychotic symptoms, or asthma later in life. According to a UPI report, the study followed a group of men from their teens into their mid-30s to assess the effects of smoking pot during these crucial years.
Dr. Jordan Betchtold, a psychology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that he found the study’s findings a little surprising. The research team found no differences in any of the mental or physical health measures assessed in heavy users and teenagers that abstained.
Many studies have historically linked heavy pot smoking in the teenage years to the development of depression, psychosis, cancer, asthma, but the recent 20-year study showed no significant links to these conditions, as well as anxiety or high blood pressure.
The study tracked 408 participants beginning at age 14 in Pittsburgh public school beginning in 1987 to assess health and social issues. Students were interviewed each year for twelve years, and again when they were 35.
The study found that early chronic users smoked on an average of 200 occasions per year, and usually began declining by age 22.
The study came as concerns about teenage marijuana use in states where voters have legalized the drug are at an all time high. The researchers acknowledged that the debate is very complicated, but they hope that their study will help to inform discussions on further policies.