Teenagers are known for their impulsive behavior, but experimenting with marijuana shouldn’t be written off as just a harmless phase. A new study, published online April 22 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that heavy marijuana use during teen years was linked to a shortened life expectancy.
The study looked at the medical records of over 50,000 men in Sweden over a 42-year period, beginning with their military training in 1969-1970. Heavy pot use during the teen years was associated with a 40% increase in the likelihood of death before age 60.
Marijuana’s Long-Term Effect on Health
Although the study couldn’t conclusively prove that marijuana caused the premature deaths of study participants, the long-term effects of marijuana present several health risks. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use can:
- Weaken the immune system, leaving the body open to deadly infections.
- Cause lung damage and increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Increase the possibility of heart attack due to high blood pressure.
- Impair coordination and judgment, which increases the risk of deadly accidents.
LiveScience reports that marijuana can also lead to weight gain. Excess weight is well known as a risk factor for diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions that can shorten an individual’s life expectancy.
Although the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug is still under debate, there have been several studies suggesting that marijuana use opens the door to experimentation with other illegal drugs. For example, the Center for Substance Abuse Research reports that a study in New Zealand found 99% of other illicit drug users had previously used marijuana. If marijuana sets a precedent for risky behavior, it stands to reason that it may indirectly shorten life expectancy.
Overcoming Your Marijuana Addiction
As one of the most affordable drug and alcohol treatment centers in California and the United States, 10 Acre Ranch specializes in helping men overcome their marijuana addiction. We offer a wide range of services, including programs for patients with a dual diagnosis. Please call us at 877.228.4679 to learn more.