Sunday, January 16

Cannabis: the younger you smoke, the more likely you are to be unemployed as an adult

Young people who use cannabis early are more likely to experience a period of unemployment as adults, according to a new comparative study.

This result was put forward by the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in collaboration with the Pierre-Louis Institute for Epidemiology and Public Health.

The scientists and doctors involved in this study, to arrive at this affirmation, spent nine years following the path of 1,500 people, who very quickly consumed cannabis.

They thus sought to verify whether there was “a direct negative effect of the consumption of cannabis on the concentration, motivation, and ultimately the academic success of young people”, writes Inserm.

In detail: People who started smoking cannabis at age 16 or later are 39% more likely to experience unemployment than non-cannabis users. As for those who started smoking before the age of 16, they are twice as likely to experience unemployment as people who have never smoked.

Three times more likely to be repeatedly unemployed

Cannabis users can also experience multiple spells of unemployment. People who started smoking before the age of 16 are therefore three times more likely to be unemployed several times in their life than those who have never experimented with the drug.

The full results of the study have been published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependance. The socio-economic level, the family situation, the educational difficulties encountered during childhood and the psychological evaluation of the participants were taken into account to “avoid biasing the analysis”, specifies Inserm.

“The age of the first experience of cannabis is associated with negative consequences not only on health, but also on the social and economic life of individuals,” explained research director Maria Melchior. “Postponing cannabis experiments as late as possible should be an objective of public policies,” she said.

In France, the average age of experimentation with cannabis is 15.3 years, according to the 2017 barometer of Public Health France. More than 25% of 18-25 year olds declared cannabis use during the year. The French are also the heaviest consumers of cannabis among 16-year-old Europeans.

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