Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Danielsson: Smoking cannabis in adolescence increases the risk of adverse social consequences later on in life.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Danielsson: We were a bit surprised to find that the increased risk for being granted disability pension remained also after controlling for confounders, such as: risky alcohol use, other drug use, tobacco smoking, mental and physical health and having a psychiatric diagnose.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Danielsson: Adolescent cannabis use may lead to a series of negative life events, such as for example subsequent illicit drug use, illness (e.g., dependence and/or psychiatric illness) and associated adverse social consequences, which calls for relevant prevention and treatment strategies.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Danielsson: Increasing number of studies show that cannabis is associated with a variety of psychiatric and somatic diseases as well as adverse social consequences. We are, however, not able to fully explain the mechanisms which underlie the observed associations between adolescent cannabis use and later disability pension. For example, there is reason to believe that the associations found in our study develop over a long period of time. Also, although we were able to control for a large number of factors previously associated with cannabis use and disability pension, there is always the possibility that the associations found are explained by other factors.
Our finding highlights the need for further studies on cannabis and other illicit drug use in relation to possible later negative health and social consequences.
Cannabis use in adolescence and risk of future disability pension: A 39-year longitudinal cohort study
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Aug 12. pii: S0376-8716(14)01028-X. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.07.038. [Epub ahead of print]
Danielsson AK1, Agardh E2, Hemmingsson T3, Allebeck P4, Falkstedt D2.