Cannabis Use a Consequence, Rather Than Cause, of Bad Behaviour in Teens, Study Shows

Article by Mike Hagar, Globe and Mail

Cannabis use a consequence, rather than cause, of bad behaviour in teens, study shows MIKE HAGER

What comes first for teens: Cannabis use or bad behaviour?
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That is the question a team led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania set out to answer by tracking a group of more than 350 students as they grew up in Philadelphia over eight years.
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Their study, published recently in the journal Addiction, found that using marijuana did not lead teens down a dangerous path toward delinquent activities, such as ditching class and stealing. Instead, the data showed the students who already had such conduct issues gravitated toward trying cannabis and, ultimately, developing problems with the drug. The academics suggest these troubled teens may be self-medicating with cannabis and that they need to be shown more support and healthier ways to cope with their issues.
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“At least in regards to behaviour problem outcomes, [marijuana use] is really a consequence of them, not so much a cause,” said study co-author Dan Romer, research director of the university’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.
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“We think people should know this is the old gateway theory … that if you use an illegal drug like marijuana it’s going to put you into a path of increased drug use, other kinds of drugs, undesirable peer relationships and all kinds of negative consequences.”

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