Several studies have linked behavioral problems among young people to marijuana use. But what comes first – the chicken or…
Several studies have linked behavioral problems among young people to marijuana use. But what comes first – the chicken or the egg?
According to new research published in the Addiction journal, cannabis consumption causes adolescents to act.
“Cannabis use in teenagers does not seem to lead to major behavioral problems or association with cannabis-using peers in addition to existing behavioral problems,” concluded the study.
However, the reverse seems to be true. Problems like school change or shop lifting can predict whether a young person uses marijuana.
To investigate the trend, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon and the Children‘s Hospital of Philadelphia created a series of hypothetical models based on self-reporters from 364 young people who participated in the Philadelphia Trajectory Study 2004.
Can the use of cannabis lead to problems? Problems making it more likely that a person uses marijuana? Or associate with comrades using cannabis may lead to cannabis consumption? The results were quite clear:
“The current results showed that … performing problems predicted cannabis use, but not vice versa, especially among mid-adolescents,” the researchers wrote.
“Thus, we could show for the first time that increased behavioral problems preceded increases in cannabis use in individuals.”
“In particular, young people whose behavioral problems change at one time are likely to engage in a corresponding change in cannabis use in follow-up, regardless of the level of these problem behaviors at the earlier date, the paper published online this week ended.
The team also wanted to learn how cannabis use disorders (CUDs) occurred in adolescents. Therefore, they looked at the criterion of CUD described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), Fifth Edition, and compared them with the participants’ response to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Increasing problems in later youths were associated with higher CUD levels, they found. Associate with mates who consume marijuana also led to increased use of cannabis, which in turn seems to lead to more cases of CUD. But the researchers stressed that young people with increased behavioral problems “are susceptible to more cannabis use and CUD, regardless of whether their friends are using it more.”
“As the use of cannabis becomes more normative, access to the drug will inevitably increase,” they wrote. “Our findings indicate that this will increase the risk of CUD, especially for young people with behavioral problems that are at higher risk of cannabis use and related to cannabis-using peers. If young people with behavioral problems use unschooled cannabis to cope with their condition, healthier alternative management strategies and support made available. “
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Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso.