A new study just released by researchers at the University of California, Davis is claiming that cannabis use is not safe for long term users.
Their study also showed that long-term cannabis users ended up in a lower social class than their parents.
The study followed children from birth to age 38. It found that those who smoked cannabis four or more days a week ended up in a lower social class than their parents. The same users had lower-paying, less-skilled, less-prestigious jobs than those who were not regular cannabis smokers. The research was released online Wednesday.
Regular, persistent users also “experienced more financial, work-related and relationship difficulties, which worsened as the number of years of cannabis use progressed,” the study said.
The economic and social problems continued in long-term, regular users of marijuana. This was true even after researchers accounted for other differences between cannabis users and other study participants.
The study took into account factors like childhood problems, lower IQ, antisocial behaviors, depression, lower motivation and abuse of alcohol and hard drugs, the research said.
Stereotypes of the deadbeat “stoner” are still a major obstacle for marijuana policy reform advocates and supporters of legalization. Such groups have been fighting for years to distance the legal and medical cannabis industries from the stigma of “stoner culture.”
The study presents evidence that seems to fit the stereotypes that regular marijuana smokers as less productive and successful than their peers.
But the researchers at UC Davis do not think their research applies to debates about legal cannabis in the United States.
“Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization,” said Magdalena Cerdá, first author of the study “But it does show that cannabis was not safe for the long-term users tracked in our study. Our study found that regular cannabis users experienced downward social mobility. They also had more financial problems. Problems like debt and cash flow, more than those who did not report such persistent use.”
Researchers acknowledged that cannabis dependence was associated with more financial problems than alcohol addiction. But it was not associated with fewer harmful economic and social problems than alcohol dependence.
(Photo Credit: KQED)