‘But then I got high’: Long-term pot use linked to lower income, insecurity

© John Vizcaino
Regular marijuana use can result in having a lower-paying and less prestigious job than your parents, according to a University of California, Davis study that followed nearly 950 people from birth to midlife.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, followed subjects in Dunedin, New Zealand from age 18 to 38, and controlled for factors such as intelligence, family structure, gender and ethnicity.

It found that those who smoked marijuana four or more days a week tended to have lower-paying, lower-prestige jobs than their parents and were more likely to face problems with food insecurity and debt.

"The rest of the people in the study who were not regular and persistent cannabis users ended up in a higher social class than their parents," said Magdalena Cerda, lead investigator and associate professor of epidemiology at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, according to The Oregonian.

Persistent cannabis users also dealt with relationship difficulties, antisocial behavior in the workplace, lower motivation and depression, which worsened as years of regular use went on, the study said.

“Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization,” said Cerda. "But it does show that cannabis was not safe for the long-term users tracked in our study.”

“Our study found that regular cannabis users experienced downward social mobility and more financial problems such as troubles with debt and cash flow than those who did not report such persistent use," she added.

The study’s authors found that, while alcohol poses a greater risk to health, those who abuse marijuana are more likely to face financial difficulties than those with alcohol problems.

So far in the US, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and twenty-three states allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons.