Pot smokers more than double risk of dropping out of school

Teen cannabis smokers are 60 per cent more likely to drop out of high school than their non-smoking peers, and are more likely to use other drugs and attempt suicide.

Researchers compiled data from three large, long-running Australian and New Zealand studies to compare education and other outcomes for about 4000 young people up to the age of 30.

Amid calls to legalise the supply of medicinal cannabis, the authors of the study, which is published in the Lancet, say the results are a timely reminder of the drug's harm.

"Policymakers need to be aware that the early use of cannabis is associated with a range of negative outcomes for young adults that affects their health, wellbeing and achievement," said lead researcher Dr Edmund Silins, of the University of NSW's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC).

"Any efforts to reform cannabis legislation should be carefully evaluated to ensure they reduce adolescent cannabis use and prevent potentially adverse effects on adolescent development."

A youth who smokes pot daily before age 17 is:

• 63 per cent less likely than non-smoking peers to finish high school

• 62 per cent less likely to complete a university degree

• 18 times more likely to later become dependent on cannabis

• 8 times more likely to go to use other drugs

• 7 times more likely to later attempt suicide.



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