Study: Marijuana Use Not Linked With Reduced Motivation in Adolescents

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

When considering medical marijuana therapy for their children, parents may be concerned about the side effects marijuana has on adolescent brain development and behaviors. Now, a study conducted by a team of researchers from Florida International University could ease these fears. In the study, which was published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, researchers looked at the relationship between cannabis use and motivation among 79 adolescent subjects who were either long-term regular cannabis consumers or occasional users. They then looked at motivational tendencies using the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Motivation and Engagement Scale, and found neither occasional nor heavy marijuana use was linked with a decrease in motivation.

The authors concluded, “After controlling for confounds, no significant differences were observed between regular and light users on any motivation index. Similarly, no associations between motivation and lifetime or past 30-day cannabis use amount were observed… Our findings do not support a link between reduced motivation and CU (cannabis use) among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds.”

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Study: Adolescent Marijuana Use Not Associated With Health Problems In Early Adulthood

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

One of the strongest debates in the medical marijuana movement is the effect marijuana use will have on children as they develop. This is an especially important issue for caregivers and parents who are treating young children and adolescents for various conditions, and some medical marijuana advocates and opponents alike say there is not enough research surrounding the effects of marijuana on children for its use to be acceptable. Now, research has been published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors that may put these worries at ease.

Researchers at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University examined cannabis use by male adolescents and young adults and found the use did not increase the risk for adverse mental and physical health effects later in life. The 20 year study controlled factors like socioeconomic status, the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, and access to medical care and health insurance. The authors then concluded, "Overall, data from this sample provide little to no evidence to suggest that patterns of marijuana use from adolescence to young adulthood... were negatively related to the indicators of physical or mental health studied."

While this study is a step in the right direction when it comes to continuing marijuana research, a more extensive study that takes into consideration different genders would yield more complete data and is necessary in truly understanding the effects of marijuana on all adolescents. For a more detailed analysis of this study, read this article on Daily Chronic. You can also go straight to the source and read from the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors