Pot Use as a Teen, Less Success as an Adult?

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Potty use among teens can hinder a child’s future chances of getting a good job with a high salary, mainly by interfering with their education, a new study of twins found .

A teenager who uses more marijuana than their identical twin is less likely to find themselves in a highly skilled occupation with better pay than their sibling, according to the report.

Just because potty use didn’t cause irreversible damage to their developing brains. Researchers have found no evidence of lasting damage to a child’s thinking, memory, or mental health from adolescent marijuana use.

But twins who smoked more pot hurt more in school, which put them on a more difficult life path in the future, said lead researcher Jonathan Schaefer, postdoctoral researcher at the Development Institute. from the University of Minnesota Child.

These teens had lower GPA, on average, less academic motivation and more discipline issues, and were more likely to spend time with antisocial peers, the researchers found.

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“These study results suggest that when you talk about the long-term effects of cannabis use in adolescents, they may be limited to short-term drug effects with longer-term impacts,” Schaefer said. “It could be that using cannabis causes a temporary decrease in motivation, which leads your teen to lower grades, which ultimately leads to a lower level of education.”

For this study, Schaefer and colleagues analyzed data on 2,410 identical twins collected from three different long-term studies at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research.

Many studies have linked early potty use to negative outcomes later in life, but this earlier research has not been able to rule out other factors that may influence success, including mental health issues. or impaired reasoning ability, Schaefer said.

Identical twins share the same genetics, family history, and environment, so studying the differences between twins can help researchers filter out other potential factors.

“Twins who reported more cannabis use in adolescence also tended to have worse socioeconomic outcomes, especially educational attainment – they did less in school,” Schaefer said. “But they haven’t experienced significantly higher rates of diagnosable mental health problems, and we haven’t seen any evidence of weaker cognitive abilities.”

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The results were published on March 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences newspaper.

The legalization of marijuana in the United States has led parents and teens to be more likely to perceive pot as harmless, but research like this shows that is not the case, said Linda Richter, vice -President of prevention research and analysis at the Partnership to End Addiction.

Potty use can affect areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and attention, Richter noted.

“This study and previous research suggest that while these effects may not last once cannabis use is stopped, the short-term impact of cannabis on brain functions essential for academic success may have downstream effects,” he said. Richter said.

“If a child is struggling academically due to cannabis use in college or high school, it can limit the quality and quantity of post-secondary academic and professional choices and experiences and, therefore, success at age. adult, ”she said.

An advocate for legalization noted that there are other possible explanations for the results, however.

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Many well-paying jobs require drug testing, which would discourage young adults who love marijuana from pursuing lucrative careers in these industries, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML. Instead, they can choose a job in the service sector where they are not tested for drugs.

Being arrested for possession of marijuana can also stain a teenager’s record, which could affect their ability to get college financial aid or employment opportunities, Armentano added.

“Finally, the authors should have considered the possibility that people most likely to use cannabis simply want to seek employment opportunities in less paying or less conventional fields, at least early in life,” Armentano continued. “This could include efforts like working for the Parks Service, Peace Corps, nonprofit advocacy, etc. It seems like a big oversight to me that none of these potential variables were mentioned.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on adolescent marijuana use.

SOURCES: Jonathan Schaefer, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Linda Richter, PhD, vice president, prevention research and analysis, Partnership to End Addiction, New York City; Paul Armentano, Deputy Director, NORML; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 29, 2021

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