Anxiety disorders in childhood and late adolescence can be a risk factor for problematic marijuana use in early adulthood, according to new research from Duke Health.
Researchers at the School of Medicine analyzed data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, which began in 1993 and followed children from the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina from age nine until their 30s. The researchers found that three quarters of study participants did not develop problematic cannabis use during early adulthood. However, the one quarter that did had distinctive risk profiles.
Lead author Sherika Hill, an adjunct faculty associate in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, wrote in an email that her team was intrigued by one group of adults who developed cannabis dependencies in their late twenties and early thirties, despite not habitually using cannabis in their teen years.
“Because much of the existing literature on cannabis use focuses on adolescent users, early users—[those who begin before age 15]—or those who are chronically high users throughout their lifetime, this distinct population of users with delayed problematic use patterns had been