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Young-adult compared to adolescent onset of regular cannabis use: A 20-year prospective cohort study of later consequences.

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2021 Jan 26;:

Authors: Chan GCK, Becker D, Butterworth P, Hines L, Coffey C, Hall W, Patton G

INTRODUCTION: This paper compares consequences of cannabis use initiated after high school with those of cannabis initiation in adolescence, with estimates of the proportion of adverse consequences accounted for by adult-onset and adolescent-onset cannabis users.
METHODS: A state-representative sample in Victoria, Australia (n = 1792) participated in a 10-wave longitudinal study and was followed from age 15 to 35 years. Exposure variable: Patterns of cannabis use across 20 years. Outcomes at age 35: Alcohol use, smoking, illicit drug use, relationship status, financial hardship, depression, anxiety and employment status.
RESULTS: Substantially more participants (13.6%) initiated regular use after high school (young-adult onset) than in adolescence (7.7%, adolescent onset). By the mid-30s, both young-adult and adolescent-onset regular users were more likely than minimal/non-users (63.5%) to have used other illicit drugs (odds ratio [OR] > 20.4), be a high-risk alcohol drinker (OR > 3.7), smoked daily (OR > 7.2) and less likely to be in relationships (OR < 0.4). As the prevalence of the young-adult-onset group was nearly double of the adolescent-onset group, it accounted for a higher proportion of adverse consequences than the adolescent-onset group.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis users who began regular use in their teens had poorer later life outcomes than non-using peers. The larger group who began regular cannabis use after leaving high school accounted for most cannabis-related harms in adulthood. Given the legalisation of cannabis use in an increasing number of jurisdictions, we should increasingly expect harms from cannabis use to lie in those commencing use in young adulthood.

PMID: 33497516 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: ncbi 2

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