Marijuana use with implications for the next generation

Marijuana use with implications for the next generation

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Effects of marijuana use on offspring

Marijuana consumption not only has a direct impact on users, but also on their offspring. According to a recent study, this applies even if the consumption of the parents was only limited to their youth.

A research team from the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington has carried out a long-term study to investigate how marijuana use affects young people in different phases of life. A key bottom line is that parent marijuana use "is an important risk factor for children," according to the study's lead author, Marina Epstein, in a recent University of Washington statement. The study results were published in the specialist journal "Psychology of Addictive Behaviors".

Long-term study of marijuana use

The current investigation builds on earlier studies for which fifth-grade children were initially recruited from several elementary schools in Seattle in the 1980s and have been examined regularly since then. In 2002, when the participants were 27 years old, those who had become parents were selected. Your children were then subjected to repeated examinations for the new study up to the age of 20 years.

Lower academic and economic status

In the first studies, participants were divided into four groups based on their marijuana use: "non-users", "use restricted to young people", "late use" (from the age of 20) and "chronic use" (over the entire study period). It was shown that participants who only used marijuana in their youth had a lower academic and economic status than non-users at the age of 30.

Negative effects of marijuana use

In the original research, chronic consumption was associated with "poorer mental health, lower academic qualifications, less financial stability and a greater tendency towards criminal and / or risky behavior", the researchers report. In the current study, the marijuana consumption of the parents was compared with the marijuana and alcohol consumption of the children as well as their behavior and school performance.

Also temporary consumption with far-reaching consequences

As expected, it was shown that children of chronically consuming parents are most likely to consume alcohol and marijuana themselves, with corresponding effects on behavior and school grades, the researchers report. However, the effects of parental consumption limited to adolescence were surprising: compared to children of non-users, their children also consumed marijuana and alcohol significantly more often.

Wellbeing of young people at risk?

"The use of marijuana in puberty is associated with a variety of problems in the present and in later adulthood" and now it shows how the offspring can be affected, summarizes the study director. Further studies are now needed to decipher the reasons for the connection between the consumption of a parent during adolescence and the use of marijuana by the offspring. However, it shows clearly how the use of marijuana in the past or present of a parent can influence the substance use and the well-being of the child.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • University of Washington: Teen marijuana use may have next-generation effects (published 10/28/2019),
  • Epstein, M .; Bailey, J.A .; Furlong, M .; Steeger, C. M .; Hill, K. G .: An intergenerational investigation of the associations between parental marijuana use trajectories and child functioning; in: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (published 09.08.2019),

Video: The Legal Marijuana Industry Is Rigged. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. Netflix (November 2022).