MarijuanaTwo more research studies warn against having a cavalier approach to cannabis.

First, researchers at University of Sydney, in Australia, determined the prevalence of recent alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis use in young persons presenting for mental healthcare.

First, the details.

  • 2122 young people aged 12 to 30 years provided information as part of a patient register.
    • A subset of 522 participants also provided detailed information about their patterns of alcohol use.
  • The prevalence of recent alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis use for age groups (12–17, 18–19, and 20–30) or primary diagnostic categories were recorded.

And, the results.

  • The rates for use at least weekly of alcohol for the 3 age bands were 12%, 39% and 45%, and for cannabis 7%, 14% and 18%, respectively.
  • The rates of daily nicotine use for the 3 age groups were 23%, 36% and 41%.
  • The pattern of alcohol use was characterized by few abstainers as well as many risky drinkers.
  • Age of onset across all 3 substances was approximately 15 years.
  • Individuals who used any of the 3 substances more frequently were likely to be older, male, or have psychotic or bipolar disorders.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Frequent use of alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis in young people seeking mental healthcare is common. Given the restricted legal access, the patterns of use in those aged 12 to 17 years are particularly notable. Reductions in substance use needs to be prioritized within services for at-risk young people.”

The public and their politicians appear to be totally in the dark about the risks of these “social” drugs, including cannabis. Click the link on the right column to read more about the research showing the risks and lack of benefits of this ill-advised habit.

Also, a study that will be reported at the International Stroke Conference, in Honolulu found that people aged 18 to 55 who had a stroke were 2.3 times more likely to test positive for marijuana in their urine than those who didn’t have a stroke.

2/6/13 10/57 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.