Comparing Adverse Effects of Marijuana, Alcohol

NEW YORK: The emerging debate about whether marijuana is “safer” than other substances has led to a new study documenting how alcohol and marijuana use impacts the psychosocial well-being of high school seniors.

Researchers affiliated with New York University published the study online ahead of print in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Investigators analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of high school seniors in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study.   MTF is a nation-wide ongoing annual study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students.

Students were asked to indicate whether they experienced various adverse psychosocial outcomes resulting from use of each substance. The authors analyzed data from 7,437 students (modal age: 18) from cohorts assessed from 2007 through 2011 who reported using alcohol or marijuana in their lifetime.

“The paucity of research is of particular public health concern as alcohol and marijuana are the two most commonly used psychoactive substances among adolescents,” said Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D., M.P.H.