Cannabis users who started smoking as teenagers are more likely to suffer long term harm, including poor mental health, than teenagers that started using alcohol, according to a major study by the Melbourne University Centre for Adolescent Health.
Heavy cannabis users are more likely to graduate to other illicit drugs like amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy than are teenage binge drinkers.
The study involved over 1900 high school students aged 14 and 15 and traced their progress for more than a decade.
The evidence of long term cannabis harm was overwhelming compared to drinking alcohol.
Starting cannabis use as a teenager led to high risks of joblessness, low skills, unsatisfactory relationships and use of other illicit drugs.
Cannabis use became more widespread and patterns of use intensified as users grew older.
(Source: Melbourne University Centre for Adolescent Health)
The evidence that cannabis is more harmful than alcohol has been known for some time.
Cannabis is usually the starting point of more risky behaviors later in life leading to health and lifestyle consequences for the users, their families and the wider community.
Teenage cannabis users must be diverted into detoxification and rehabilitation programs to prevent the mental health and other destructive behaviors leading them to become life’s future losers.