Marijuana is slowly gaining markets while it gets more accepted and legalized worldwide. While smoking weed in your youth isn't considered to have a significant impact on your life, things might change when you move into adulthood.
According to a study published in the journal Addiction Research & Theory, cannabis and amphetamine users are associated with lower success in nine specific areas.
The studies measured success in education, income, home ownership, relationship status, and reported happiness.
The researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia concluded that the participants had a lower success in these areas, however, only when they continued using cannabis after 30.
The researchers looked at data from over 8,000 mothers and 2,000 children about drug use at ages 21 and 30 to come to this conclusion.
Now you probably ask yourself if this study can be trusted.
When you look further into the details, there are some limitations and red flags. The participants are made up entirely of mothers, which in no way represent the general population.
The study is local and tied to Australia, meaning it might not represent the situation in other countries.
Readers have found data in the research dating back to 1981, which is not exactly a representative period for modern life.
It can also be discussed if aspects like home ownership and relationship status are relevant measures of success.
On top of all these problems, there is no information if the participants were also users of other, perhaps heavier, drugs.
"We do not have adequate data on other illicit drugs that may be being used, for example, ecstasy, opiates, and even synthetic drugs," the researchers confessed in the study.
"A subset of those using cannabis as well as amphetamines may also be using a range of other drugs, and it may be that our findings reflect polydrug use generally rather than the specific use of cannabis and amphetamines."
Still, the scientists felt sure enough of their study to draw some conclusions.
"We found people who used cannabis and amphetamines at 30 had substantially lower levels of life success," the researcher Najman stated in a press release.
The study showed that experimenting with cannabis at a younger age does not affect your future life negatively. However, if you are still a user at 30, you have a higher percentage of being less successful.
"Antisocial behavior and contact with the criminal justice system are the strongest predictors of continued drug use, along with problems at school and aggressive or delinquent behavior early in life," Najman said.
He argued that the findings "raise the possibility that targeted interventions for children who show early signs of antisocial behavior or poor school performance may reduce drug use and lead to improved life success."
It is important to remember that although cannabis is illegal in Australia, that is not the case in many other countries and states within the US. Naturally, this makes it easier and more accepted to be a cannabis user in those places.
This study alone can not explain or show how the use of marijuana will affect social outcomes. We know that drug use can negatively affect both ourselves and our surroundings, especially if it becomes an addiction rather than a relaxing habit.
So if you are a grownup using cannabis, there is no need to feel remorse. There is nothing that proves your life choices have made you lesser.
Remember to look out for the warning signs. If your drug habits take up too much of your life, if it eats away your hard-earned money or affects people close to you badly, it is time to make a change.
Every marijuana user benefits from reassessing their drug use and recognizing that policy interventions don't make a drug any more or less damaging.