New research suggests that at midlife, heavy marijuana smokers are more likely to have problems economically and socially. Those who smoke frequently for years and have dependency issues are more at risk than those who smoke occasionally or never at all. Furthermore, there are even higher chances of these troubles the longer regular use continues.
However, the results of the study do not provide conclusive evidence that marijuana is responsible for these problems, although it does suggest a strong association. Published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, the paper compiled data from almost 1,000 people from the New Zealand town of Dunedin, frequently interviewing and checking them from birth to 38-years of age.
Effects of Marijuana on Personal Life
Among the study’s subjects, those using marijuana frequently had higher debts and lower credit ratings, along with cash flow limitations, difficulties paying rent and food bills, and other significant economic woes. As heavy cannabis users, subjects were taking it at least four times every week for several years. Many had trouble maintaining their jobs, accused of antisocial behaviors, such as arguing and lying.
Effects of Marijuana on Social Life
The study also indicated increased levels of conflict in the intimate relationships of heavy users. Their parents also stayed in a higher “social class” than they did, which means that they work less specialized jobs than their parents do. On the other hand, non-users and occasional smokers tend to become more skilled than their parents and end up in a higher social class than them.
There is no denying the correlation between marijuana and social life. In the short-term, it can make users highly sociable, and this is one of the effects of the best sativa strains. With regular use over the long-term, however, people can become socially anxious, paranoid, and even hermits. There is no actual proof of this, though, which is why this study controlled for a variety of possible factors, including:
Original social class,
Family history of addiction,
Self-control levels during childhood,
The study also controlled for other drugs and alcohol, but after excluding those using these substances and considering those that use marijuana solely, the link still held. Remember, these findings apply only to heavy users and not those who use it occasionally, and according to Healthline, addiction is actually rare and only nine percent of cannabis users ever become dependent on it.
Questions Posed By the Study
There appears to be an equal link between alcoholism and cannabis dependency with decreased mobility, relationship conflicts, and antisocial work behavior, but the study suggests that heavy marijuana use is more likely to cause financial troubles than alcohol is. Although the study did not address health specifically, it did reveal worse health for alcohol addicts than for heavy pot smokers.
The issue with this study, and others of this sort before it, is that it fails to provide conclusive evidence that marijuana is the cause. Even researchers acknowledge the difficulty in establishing a definitive causal relationship between marijuana and social, personal, and economic conditions. For example, how do we know if these results are unique to New Zealand?
We have no idea. We can only speculate that they are more widespread, as multiple similar studies uncover consistent results in other locations. Additionally, dependence levels appear higher in New Zealand than they are in the United States, but may balance out as more states legalize. It is still possible that cannabis use is just a symptom of another risk factor for economic and social adversity.
It is clear that regular use contributes to personal woes, though. There were no differences between teens using cannabis and teens not using it on motivation, IQ, impulsivity, or other drug tests. Evidently, something unique is compelling people to become dependent or smoke often, and their problems may be attributable to unmeasurable personality or psychological differences, instead of pot itself.
Using Cannabis Responsibly
Whether weed is responsible for these problems or if they are already in these people’s destinies is impossible to figure out with any accuracy. Cannabis is a powerful medicinal plant that can have varying effects on the body and mind. It is important to choose the right strains for your condition and to use it wisely. Some high THC strains exacerbate social disorders, for example, and less THC may be better.
Sativa strains are typically uplifting and energetic. They are more suited to work times and other commitment-filled situations. Indica strains can make you lazy, sleepy, and unproductive, making them ideal for nighttime use or days spent on the couch. It is important that you do not use the wrong strains in a highly skilled job, and that you find a strain compatible with your social and personal obligations.
Author Bio- John Levy is a professional blogger covering news and other topics related to health benefits of marijuana. Currently, working for Pot Valet- a leading company to provide marijuana delivery service in Santa Barbara, John has extensively written about medical marijuana and related related products. Follow his company on G+ and Facebook.