Teens who regularly drink and get high could see their success go up in smoke, according to a new study.
University of Connecticut researchers found that teens who are dependent on marijuana and alcohol “achieved lower levels of education, were less likely to be employed full time, were less likely to get married and had lower social economic potential.”
Researchers underscored that their study focused on chronic and dependent use — not just occasional recreational use of pot or booze.
The findings, presented at the American Public Health Association 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo, analyzed data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism.
Investigators looked at 1,165 young adults from across the United States whose habits were first assessed at age 12 and then at two-year intervals until they were between 25 and 34 years old. Most of the participants had an alcoholic grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle.
Subjects who were dependent on either alcohol or marijuana generally scored lower on all indicators of success — education, work history, marriage and financial solvency.
The study also found that the effect of pot and booze dependency was more severe on young men. Ongoing research is looking to explain why.
“This study found that chronic marijuana use in adolescence was negatively associated with achieving important developmental milestones in young adulthood,” study author and UConn psychiatry resident Elizabeth Harari said.
“Awareness of marijuana’s potential deleterious effects,” she added, “will be important moving forward given the current move in the U.S. toward marijuana legalization for recreational/medicinal use.”