According to a recent study released by the American Psychological Association, using marijuana during teen years won’t lead to depression or any other mental health issues.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Rutgers University, led by Dr Jordan Bechtold, a UPMC researcher.
They studied a total of 408 male subjects over the course of 20 years, in order to be able to fully grasp the extent of the effects that the marijuana had on them. The 408 participants were 42% white males, 54% African American males and 4% of other races and ethnicities and they were all in their teen years at the beginning of the study and in their mid 30s when the study was completed.
According to the frequency of their marijuana use habits and to the moment when they started smoking it, the subjects were divided into four categories: “non-users”, which included 46% of the participants, “early chronic users”, which included 22%, subjects who used marijuana throughout their teen years only, which included 11% and subjects who started smoking marijuana in their late teen years and carried on in their adult years as well, which included 21%.
The researchers followed the participants for the course of 20 years, during which they received a series of questionnaires and clinical examinations for mental health. At the end of the study, the researchers got extremely different results compared to those of previous studies conducted on the matter of marijuana.
In their extensive study period the researchers were unable to link teen use of marijuana to any type of depressive episode or other type of mental health issue. Furthermore, they saw no differences according to race or frequency of use.
“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.” said Dr Jordan Bechtold, the lead researcher of the study.
Despite their extremely promising pro-marijuana results, the authors of this study point out that one study is not enough to convey the entire amount of information on the effects that marijuana has on people and that other studies should be taken into consideration as well before reaching a conclusion.
They also pointed out that the study only offers information on male participants and that another study which would focus on females should be conducted, so as to have complete information on the matter.
The authors mentioned that they had hoped to provide data that would prove helpful in the debate over marijuana use, but that they still see the use of extending the study to women as well before reaching a conclusion.
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