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Early, Heavy Marijuana Use Linked To Shorter Life Span

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A recent study suggests what no one would be surprised to hear: men who smoked pot heavily during their teenage years were less likely to live as long as their non-using peers.

The research, published by the American Journal of Psychiatry, sought to assess the death risks posed to marijuana users in comparison with non-users. It also attempted to assess the effects marijuana use had on psychotic disorders and the link, if any, between such disorders and lifespan.

The authors studied data from over 45,000 men in Sweden who had undergone mandatory military training from 1969-1970, then followed them on the National Cause of Death Register until 2011. During the course of the 42-year study, an estimated 4,000 men died.

It was found that the men who had used cannabis heavily during their teen years were 40% more likely to die by the age of 60, compared to the men who had never touched a joint. While the researchers also found that the men with psychotic disorders had a higher mortality rate, there was no significant difference between them and those who had psychotic disorders but were also heavy marijuana users.

UPI states that these findings showed no direct link between heavy cannabis use and death. But the effects of such use, especially during the teen years, could have contributed over time to heart and lung diseases, cancer and other health problems, ultimately leading to early deaths.

An interesting observation, according to Dr. Edison Manrique-Garcia of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is that the risk of death due to suicide or accidents was directly proportional to the level of marijuana use the men had as teens.

The results of this study should be treated with caution when used, but the implications of these findings do contribute to the larger discussion on the effects of heavy pot use in teenagers.

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