Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs

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.

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    Jim Dickey

    February 21, 2016 at 2:34 PM

    Quite honestly, this was a fairly useless study. It would have been interesting to see if in the original study group alcohol use was an early predictor of addiction to other drugs and then compared that association to the association of marijuana use being a predictor to addiction of other drugs. All this study really did was confirm the already well known fact that people who use drugs (any drugs, including marijuana) are more likely to become addicted to other drugs than the general population. We already know that is the case. What seems to be a fairly well established fact is that some people are more susceptible to addictions than others and that these people are more likely to try alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and other drugs and are more likely to become addicted to them then other people are.

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    Jeff Kushner

    February 18, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    Duh…..legalization leads to all kinds of problems including increased other drug use. What a missed opportunity we have had.

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