A new study has shown that there was no significant link between teen marijuana use and the development of asthma or other health issues commonly associated with the drug.
Scientists have carried out a 20-year long study that tracked the health effects of chronic pot use in teenagers, and their findings have shocked many. According to a UPI report, the study followed a group of Pittsburgh men from their teens into their mid-30s to determine if there were any serious health effects of smoking pot during their most formative years.
According to Dr. Jordan Betchtold, a psychology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the team of scientists that carried out the study were stunned by the results. Scientists found no discernible difference in any of the mental or physical health test results for heavy pot users and teenagers that chose not to use marijuana, including scans for asthma and depression.
There is a wealth of research linking pot use to negative health side effects, and the recent study is one of the first to openly suggest that some of the associated risks might be overstated.
The study followed 408 participants from age 14 on in the Pittsburgh public school system. Starting in 1987, researchers wanted to produce a report on health and social problems present in the schools. Students were assessed every year for twelve years, and again when they were 36, and monitored across a wide range of health measures.
The study revealed that early heavy users smoked an average of 200 times yearly, and typically began smoking less by age 22, and that there was no difference in the incidence of asthma and other health issues between these students and the ones that did not smoke.
The study comes at a time when the marijuana debate is a hot button issue in states that have chosen to legalize the drug. The authors hope that their findings can help inform the debate, though they acknowledged that it remains a delicate subject for many.