Smoking cannabis regularly can seriously affect your career prospects, a new study has claimed.

Researchers found that people who smoke the drug at least four times a week end up in worse jobs and earn less money than their parents. This is thought to be partly due to lacking ambition as a result of cannabis use and spending time with other drug users who also have low aspirations.

The study in New Zealand followed 947 people over a 20-year period from the age of 18 to 38. And the research found that heavy cannabis use had even more of a negative impact on social mobility than alcohol abuse.

And marijuana use was also linked to more problems involving antisocial behaviour, including relationship issues, domestic violence, dishonesty and theft.

Magdalena Cerda, of the University of California Davis, led the research and said she had been surprised by how robust the results had been.

She said: “Our study found that regular cannabis users experienced downward social mobility and more financial problems such as troubles with debt and cash flow than those who did not report such persistent use. Regardless of how we looked at the relationship between persistent, regular cannabis use and economic and social problems, we got the same results.”

She added: “We found that cannabis dependence was worse than alcohol dependence in the case of financial difficulties, such as troubles with debt and cash flow, and food insecurity. Regular and persistent use of cannabis could also lead people to become involved with friends and social environments that discourage work-related achievement and material success.”

The study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, also found that smoking cannabis frequently at a young age could lead to cognitive problems.

Criminal convictions not to blame

Psychologist Avshalom Caspi, from Duke University, who also took part in the research, said that the problems experienced by regular cannabis smokers were not solely down to any criminal convictions they may have for drug use.

He said: “These findings did not arise because cannabis users were prosecuted and had a criminal record. Even among cannabis users who were never convicted for a cannabis offence, we found that persistent and regular cannabis use was linked to economic and social problems.”

Cannabis use has already been linked to mental health problems, including schizophrenia.

Drug testing can detect both long term cannabis use and whether the drug has been consumed recently. AlphaBbolabs offer a range of drugs tests including urine, blood and hair strand tests which can determine whether an individual has been abusing illegal or prescription drugs.