Men who were heavy pot smokers in their teens may not live as long as those who did not use marijuana when they were young, a new study suggests.
Researchers examined data from more than 45,000 men in Sweden who did compulsory military training in 1969-1970 and were followed until 2011.
About 4,000 of the men died during the 42-year study period. Those who were heavy marijuana users in their late teens were 40 percent more likely to die by age 60 than those who never used the drug, the investigators found.
But the study did not prove that early and heavy marijuana use led to an early death. The findings were published online April 22 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
A previous study of the same group of men showed no link between marijuana use and death. But because this new study covered a longer period (42 years), the men had reached ages when the harmful effects of previous marijuana use — such as cancer, lung and heart disease — were more likely to have developed, the researchers said.
Interestingly, the risk of death from either accidental injury or suicide among the men rose in accordance with their level of marijuana use as teens, researcher Dr. Edison Manrique-Garcia, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a journal news release.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more on marijuana.