Swiss study has some surprises on marijuana use
CHICAGO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Swiss study has some surprises on marijuana use, 05 Nov 2007
But the same was not true for those who used both tobacco and marijuana, who tended to be heavier users of the drug, said the report from Dr. J.C. Suris and colleagues at the University of Lausanne.
The study did not confirm the hypothesis that those who abstained from marijuana and tobacco functioned better overall, the authors said.
In fact, those who used only marijuana were "more socially driven ... significantly more likely to practice sports and they have a better relationship with their peers" than abstainers, it said.
"Moreover, even though they are more likely to skip class, they have the same level of good grades; and although they have a worse relationship with their parents, they are not more likely to be depressed" than abstainers, it added.
It did not explain the reasons behind the apparent effect.
The study, published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, was based on a 2002 survey of 5,263 Swiss students age 16 to 20, of whom 455 smoked marijuana only, 1,703 who used both marijuana and tobacco and 3,105 who abstained from both.
The report said that while marijuana use has declined among U.S. adolescents, it has increased in recent years among the same age group in Switzerland and other European countries.
The study said that while one theory holds that using legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol opens the door to marijuana and other illegal drug use, recent research also has found marijuana may come first and it "may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction ..."
In the study, about half of the tobacco and marijuana group had used the latter drug 10 times or more in the previous month. That compared to 56 percent in the marijuana-only group who had used the drug only once or twice in the same time period.
"These findings agree with previous research indicating that (tobacco) smokers were significantly more likely to be heavy cannabis users than nonsmokers," the study concluded.
In addition, those who use only marijuana were less likely to have started using that drug before the age of 15 compared to tobacco users, and the tobacco-marijuana group was more likely to have abused alcohol, the study said.
(Reporting by Michael Conlon; Editing by Andrew Stern and Philip Barbara)
NOTE data from the same study shows other significant relationships.
Researchers found that marijuana-only users had the following characteristics:
— More likely to be male (71.6 percent marijuana smokers versus 59.7percent of teens who used tobacco and marijuana)
— Play sports (85.5 percent vs. 66.7 percent of tobacco and marijuana)
— Live with both parents (78.2 percent vs. 68.3 percent of tobacco and marijuana)
— Have good grades (77.5 percent vs. 66.6 percent of tobacco and marijuana)
Cannabis-only smokers were also less likely to have been drunk in the past30 days, less likely to use cannabis before the age of 15 and less likely to use marijuana more than once or twice in the past 30 days.
They were also less likely to use other illegal drugs, compared to students who used both substances, researchers found.“The gateway theory hypothesizes that the use of legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) is the previous step to cannabis consumption,” the authors wrote. However, recent research also indicates that cannabis use may precede or be simultaneous to tobacco use and that, in fact, its use may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction independently of smoking status. In any case, and even though they do not seem to have great personal, family, or academic problems, the situation of those adolescents who use cannabis but who declare not using tobacco should not be trivialized.”
In comparison to students who abstained from both substances, marijuana-only smokers were:
— More likely to be male (71.6 percent cannabis users vs. 47.7 percent of teens who abstained)
— Have a good relationship with friends (87 percent vs. 83.2 percent)
— Be sensation-seeking (37.8 percent vs. 21.8 percent)— Play sports (85.5 percent vs. 76.6 percent)
— Less likely to have a good relationship with their parents (74.1percent vs. 82.4 percent)
(hat tip) Dr John Watson, Baker Street
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
Social Ecologist 'at large'
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