A new study suggests marijuana smokers may be significantly more likely to develop an addiction to other drugs and alcohol than people who don’t use marijuana.
People who used marijuana were not more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder, HealthDay reports.
“This new finding raises the possibility that the recent rise in marijuana use may be contributing to the coincident rise in serious harms related to narcotics and other drugs of abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University Medical Center.
The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, included almost 35,000 adults who were interviewed three years apart. At the time of the first interview, almost 1,300 used marijuana. After three years, two-thirds of people who used marijuana had some form of substance use disorder, compared with less than 20 percent of people who did not use marijuana in the previous year.
People who used marijuana once or more a month had higher rates of substance use disorders. Olfson noted the study did not prove that marijuana caused other addictions, but said the possibility should be considered.
“In the ongoing national debate concerning whether to legalize recreational marijuana, the public and legislators should take into consideration the potential for marijuana use to increase the risk of developing alcohol abuse and other serious drug problems,” he said.