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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pot: Good for Teenagers

posted by on November 7 at 10:20 AM

This ABC News headline is a little misleading:

Swiss Study Has Some Surprises on Marijuana News: Survey suggests use of drug doesn’t impact grades, relationships

You have to get past the similarly misleading photo caption—under a picture of what looks like a teenager smoking the biggest joint you’ve ever seen—and read the actual story before you learn that teenagers who smoke pot have as-good-or-better grades and peer relationships than kids who do not.

In fact, those who used only marijuana were “more socially driven… significantly more likely practice sports and they have a better relationship with their peers” than abstainers, it said.

“Moreover, even though they are more likely to skip class, they have the same level of good grades…”

So much for all those Partnership for a Drug-Free America PSAs featuring stoned do-nothing, friendless losers wasting away on basement sofas. (But that kid’s got one hot, hot, hot loser stoner for an older brother, huh?)

The study also shows that teenagers who use pot are also no more likely to be depressed than teenagers who don’t. Is there any bad news for teenage pot smokers? Yes: they have “a worse relationship with their parents,” parents that are probably worried about the damage their kids’ pot use is gonna do to their kids’ grades.

Via Sullivan.

RSS icon Comments


Wait. Help me out here. Do you think pot should be legal, Dan? I'm confused.

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 7, 2007 10:39 AM

This goes completely opposite of everything and what we've been told!!
Who do we believe????
It's all so confusing!
Who paid for that study?

Posted by Pot4Kids | November 7, 2007 10:42 AM

This study is major bullshit.

Sensitively, a pot smoker.

Posted by s t u p i d | November 7, 2007 10:45 AM

pot should be legal, definitely, 113%. social conservatism should be illegal, and subject to imprisonment and HUGE fines. death maybe, depending. social conservatism is a crime against humanity that perpetuates ignorance and violence and war, and has deep rooted connections to global warming. so there.

Posted by adrian | November 7, 2007 10:51 AM

yeh, who ya should I believe, a Swiss study or my own lyin eyes?

Posted by cracked | November 7, 2007 10:54 AM

This study is consistent with my high school experience - I was a student athlete, finished in the top 20 of my graduating class (roughly 400 people), had many friends, and smoked a shit-ton of pot my junior and senior years. AP english was my favorite class to attend while baked off my ass.

Posted by Hernandez | November 7, 2007 10:57 AM

This study is consistent with my high school experience - I was a student athlete, finished in the top 20 of my graduating class (roughly 400 people), had many friends, and smoked a shit-ton of pot my junior and senior years. AP english was my favorite class to attend while baked off my ass.

Carl Sagan was brilliant while being constantly baked... so can the rest of us.

"I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves," wrote the former Cornell University professor. "I wrote the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down."

Posted by JMR | November 7, 2007 11:02 AM

Just to make the points a social scientist should:

1) The teenagers in the study are Swiss. While it is possible, even probable, that these results would be comparable in the US, we can't assume that: maybe there's something different about Swiss teenagers that helps them to better handle their pot than US teens would; maybe US teens will handle their pot even better than the Swiss teens, or handle it better in different ways.

2) Correlation is not causation. That is, we don't know the reason why the results came out the way they did. Maybe Swiss students who are already more social, more successful as students, better atheletes are somehow more predisposed to smoke pot than Swiss students who are not. Maybe pot makes them more successful.

Support social science! Let's reproduce the study in the states. Let's find the cause of the marijuana achievement gap in Swiss teens. Don't give your kid a joint just yet.

Posted by FooFootheSnoo | November 7, 2007 11:19 AM

Cool Hernandez. That's what I tell my son about drugs in order to give an honest picture. There are kids who don't seem to be slowed down by it and have a lot of fun. But my experience also tells me that there are also kids who go from being A students to C students within a year and stop doing things they love and lose ambition for their passions. Is it worth the risk?

I support full decriminalization, but I don't think kids should be smoking dope any more than they should be drinking Jim Beam at lunch.

Posted by mirror | November 7, 2007 11:22 AM

It is interesting to note the primary concern of the study is the hypothsized relationship between marijuana use and smoking and life success. Apart from looking purely at physical health affects, the question itself doesn't seem like one that would come to mind as the most important way of considering marijuana use for most Americans. Just seems like a kind of weird European question to me.

Posted by mirror | November 7, 2007 11:32 AM

I never believed Dan's assertion that he wasn't a pothead until this post cause thats a medium sized doob at the very most :).

When you need to take 30 minutes to build your paper just to start rolling, now THATS a big joint

Posted by Wurm | November 7, 2007 11:42 AM

Where were the Swiss Researchers when I was in High School?

Could have saved me a lot of bullshit...

Posted by Mike in MO | November 7, 2007 11:42 AM

dan, i've been smoking way bigger joints that that near-daily for years.

and my teenaged-relationships have never been better.

Posted by josh bomb | November 7, 2007 11:49 AM

Let's analyze the raw scientific papers that created this news, from Swiss scientists.

1. Smoking pot does not make your grades go down. At reasonable levels.

2. Smoking pot does not make you smarter.

3. One possible conclusion is that typical teenage angst and depression are overridden by positive biochemical actions of MJ.

Please realize the study meant participants had to be blind to whether they actually were on pot or not. So the social impacts - good or bad - were not measured. Hanging out with dealers and pot addicts - probably bad. Hanging out with other kids and getting high and talking out stress stuff - probably good. Not measured.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 7, 2007 1:21 PM

validated my parenting - we told them 'don't get arrested, stay from the hard stuff, and call us for a ride home, whenever, wherever, & no judgements because we did it too'

result: 2 dean's list, pot smoking UW students who still like us.

Posted by max solomon | November 7, 2007 1:32 PM

good job, max.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 7, 2007 2:52 PM

Yes, sometimes government campaigns overstress things. That said, potheads are losers. Pot is a drug, potheads are drug addicts. One thing I hate about the otherwise fabulous city of Seattle is that there seem to be so many potheads who live here.

I know I'm expressing a very unpopular opinion, and I'll probably get flamed, but I'm really tired of the glorification of drugs in our culture. Maybe some people can live functional lives with pot in their systems, but many more cannot.

Posted by naysayer | November 7, 2007 5:10 PM

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