NEW DELHI : Recently a study was conducted by T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which was published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine where the crux was that “Children whose mothers use marijuana are more likely to start their own marijuana use an average of 2 years earlier than children whose mothers don’t use the drug”.
This study was undertaken keeping in mind acceptability of adult marijuana use which is expected to increase. To understand how these changes may impact children’s early marijuana and to better identify youth at risk and implement effective prevention strategies.
With the present public health goals, prohibiting the use of marijuana is not important as it has recognized therapeutic benefits but it has several negative consequences associated with it like impairments in concentration and decision-making, increased impulsivity and reductions in IQ. The consequences of its use are more severe when used at a young age. Thus, delaying marijuana initiation should be an important public health goal. Using the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and Child and Young Adults, this study assessed the timing and extent of marijuana use and initiation among 4,400 children and 2,586 mothers. Researchers tested for the effect of mother’s marijuana use between a child’s birth and age 12 on that child’s subsequent risk of marijuana initiation, controlling factors related to child’s early life behavior and cognition and family’s socio-economic position and social environment.
The study found that 2,983 children (67.2%) and 1,053 mothers (35.3%) were self-identified marijuana users. Children whose mother’s used marijuana began using it at a median age of 16,compared with age 18 for children whose mother’s didn’t use the drug. However, the limitation of the study was that it did not measure whether children were aware of their mother’s marijuana use status and what is the frequency and severity of the mother’s marijuana use.