MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
James McIntosh PhD
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study
Response: Marijuana is about to become legal in Canada. Consequently, an analysis of its effects on users is a high priority. This issue has been explored by Canadian researchers to some extent but there are gaps in what is known about the effects of using marijuana. Most of the Canadian studies focus on youth or adolescent use. This is clearly important but adult use is as well. Establishing the link between early usage and the effects of use over an individual’s lifetime was a major objective of the study.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Like many other studies we found that regular use (at least weekly) lead to poorer self-reported mental health for almost all age groups. However, a result which had not been mentioned in the literature on the health effects of marijuana use was that respondents who started as teenagers experienced a permanent decline in their mental health. Moreover, early use promoted adult use but not starting before the age of 21 meant that the respondent was not likely to be a regular user ever.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Problems associated with cannabis use start with adolescents. Marijuana use is costly health wise but like earlier anti-smoking initiatives, cannabis education programmes in schools are likely to be very important in reducing the chances that respondents become involved with cannabis as adolescents. These should accompany any movement towards making cannabis products legal and, consequently, more available.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We were unable to assess the health prospects of regular marijuana use among late starters. After legalization Canadian surveys should continue to monitor the health consequences of marijuana use by this type of user.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Rawan Hassunah, James McIntosh
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.