26 Nov Kids More Likely to Use Marijuana if Their Parents Do
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bertha K. Madras PhD
Director, Laboratory of Addiction Neurobiology
Psychobiologist, Substance Use Disorders Division, Basic Neuroscience Division
Professor of Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Parent use of marijuana is rising, and I wondered whether this could be associated with offspring use of specific substances and across several substances
- Several fathers have confided in me that they used marijuana to bond with their sons. They became horrified after witnessing their sons progress to using other drugs, especially heroin.
- In general, living with a parent using substances or having substance use disorders is an explicit risk for use of substances among young offspring. Yet, few studies have directly examined whether parental marijuana use elevates the risk for opioid misuse among adolescent and young adults living with parents. Most importantly and to the best of our knowledge, none of the existing research simultaneously explored frequency of parental marijuana use and whether it related to adolescent and young adult offspring’s marijuana, tobacco, alcohol use, and opioid misuse.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
- We found substantial marijuana use among US parents living with offspring aged 12-30 years. Past year marijuana use among mothers (7.6%) or fathers (9.6%) was high, as was at least approximately weekly use (3.5% among mothers and 5.4% of fathers). Although parental marijuana use is reportedly lower than in non-parenting populations, this protective factor may be reduced with increasing marijuana use among parents.
- Parental past-year marijuana use was consistently associated with a generalized risk of past-year marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use and opioid misuse among both adolescent and young adult offspring living in the same household.
- Even if a parent reported lifetime marijuana use but not in the past year, substance use among offspring was generally higher than among children whose parents had never used marijuana.
- Parental marijuana use was a specific risk factor for marijuana and tobacco use by both adolescent and young adult offspring and for alcohol use by adolescent offspring, after adjusting for a number of factors.
- Adolescent offspring’s substance use appeared to be particularly associated with whether a mother used marijuana in the past or continues to use, and suggests apivotal influence of mothers’ marijuana consumption in substance use by her children. (delete “compared with a father” because NSDUH never samples both mother and father and offspring).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: More parents with children (ages 12-30) living at home use marijuana. Children are much higher at risk of using marijuana if parents use. They are at higher risk of using other drugs as well. Drug use at home is a risk for children
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
- Our findings should be incorporated into a general prevention campaign, educating parents on their potential and pivotal role in transmitting the risk for generalized substance use in their offspring.
- Clinicians should use this information to discuss parental substance use in the home and its potential role in fostering transgenerational substance use.
- As marijuana use among youth confers a high risk of other substance use, including opioids, it is important for parents to become aware that use of any one substance by offspring can be associated with use of other substances.
- We do not know whether parents used in front of their chilodren, whetehr they give marijuna to their children or many personal variables .
No financial interest. A listed speaker for “Speakers for Change”
Bertha K. Madras PhD, Beth Han MD, PhD, MPH, Wilson M. Compton MD, MPE, Christopher M. Jones PharmD, DrPH, MPH, Elizabeth I. Lopez PhD, Elinore F. McCance-Katz MD, PhD
JAMA Network Open. 2019;2(11):e1916015. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16015
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