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Study Indicates Kids' Marijuana Use Isn't as Damaging as We Thought

Although early marijuana use has widely believed to be linked to developing health problems, a new study shows that teens who smoke marijuana frequently are not more likely to develop health issues later in life.

In the 1980s a group of 14-year-old boys were selected to participate in a study created by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University. Scientists tracked the health and marijuana use of the group from the ages of 14 until 36.

The teens were divided into four groups: low and non-users; users who only smoked during their adolescence; early chronic users, who smoked frequently in their teens and early 20s but slowed as they got older; and those who started in their late teens and continued into adulthood.

Factors that could influence their participants' health such as cigarette smoking, other drug use and access to health care were tracked as well and researchers still found no correlation between marijuana use and later health problems like depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma. They didn't look at the affect marijuana has on learning.

This new report reframes worries about marijuana use rising among American high school students. A federal report released in 2013 claimed more students were smoking marijuana, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug was decreasing.

"What we found was a little surprising," lead researcher Jordan Bechtold told the Daily News. "There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence."

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