St. Louis Public Radio News
9:13 am
Tue January 21, 2003

Marijuana Use Linked to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

St. Louis, MO – Marijuana use as a teenager may lead to serious drug and alcohol problems later in life, according to a study of Australian twins.

Researchers at Washington University and in Australia found pairs in which one sibling used cannabis before the age of 17 and one did not.

Dr. Michael Lynskey directed the study of the teenagers. He says the risk of later problems is greater for teenage marijuana users, but most pot smokers in the study did not develop other problems.

Lynskey says marijuana use is not harmless, but it's risks aren't as extreme as many people think.

The results will appear in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.