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News1990April › Cannabis: is it a cause, or just an effect? › April 1990

Cannabis: is it a cause, or just an effect?

Cannabis smoking is often linked to social and psychological problems, but new research suggests it doesn't cause them

Cannabis smoking is often linked to social and psychological problems, but new research suggests it doesn't cause them. Instead, any problems were there anyway, and those who have them may be more inclined to take illicit drugs such as cannabis.

Researchers from England and Switzerland decided that cannabis wasn't to blame after reviewing 48 studies into illicit drug use and later social problems among adolescents and young adults.

'Psychosocial problems might be more a cause than a consequence of cannabis use,' the researchers concluded. Illicit drug use may be a marker of a troubled family life or of a poor education, and it is these latter areas that may lead to antisocial behaviour in later years.

(Source: Lancet, 2004; 363: 1579-88).


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