Public Health and Safety

Casual Cannabis Use in Teens & Adverse Mental Outcomes

Currently there is a great deal of recent research supporting the elevated risk of adverse mental and behavioral outcomes in teenagers, diagnosed with a Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), from chronic marijuana use. But what are the risks for the casual (“nondisordered”) teenage marijuana user that does not have a CUD? This study supports that they too are at an increased risk for adverse mental and behavioral outcomes as well. 

This study examined national survey data for teens, 12 – 17 years of age (N=68,263), from 2015 to 2019, grouped as either “no marijuana use”, recent marijuana use (with no diagnosis of a CUD), and those marijuana users having been diagnosed as having a CUD. Researchers reported that when compared to non-users, the casual teenage marijuana user is over twice as probable to experience some adverse impacts to their mental health, scholastic achievement, cognitive development, and processing. For those diagnosed with a CUD, their risk rate is nearly 4 times greater for these same adverse outcomes than the non-use group. 

This study demonstrates that more research is needed to fully understand the implications, short and long term, of marijuana use by teens and young adults. 

Read time: 10 minutes