A recent longitudinal survey of youth found that marijuana use does not positively relate to negative outcomes in a youth’s adult life. The study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence and deserves the attention of parents and politicians alike.
Many parents and politicians are still under the spell of propaganda about marijuana that has been perpetuated since the Great Depression. Common beliefs include: “marijuana will make you crazy”, “marijuana will ruin your life”, and “marijuana will make you commit crimes”—the list goes on.
It is high time that our society pays attention to the data rather than years of government and special interest group’s reign of lies and terror. One such study conducted by researchers at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University, compared male subjects between the ages of 15-26 who smoked marijuana regularly with those who abstained or used marijuana infrequently.
The study compared the socioeconomic, social, and life satisfaction of the subjects lives in their mid 30’s. Researchers found that after they accounted for “other substance abuse” and “unique adolescent situations”, that the differences between regular marijuana users and non-users were insignificant.
The study found,
“After statistically accounting for confounding variables, chronic marijuana users were not at a heightened risk for maladjustment in adulthood except for lower SES (socioeconomic status) among Black men”.
Don’t be fooled by this quote. The study mentions black men because they are predisposed to lower socioeconomic status when compared to majority groups like white males. They are basically saying that in the natural “worst case scenario”, marijuana use does not equate to worse outcomes in an individual’s future.
The Brain and Body
Similar studies have been conducted to analyze the effects of marijuana use on physical and mental development in youth. A vast majority of studies are inconclusive at best, but health professionals are beginning to believe that marijuana can promote neurogenesis—the exact opposite of what we have been led to believe for years.
Tell the Truth
It cannot be stressed enough that parents and politicians should observe the data before they make decisions. This does not mean that if studies say marijuana does not harm youth’s development that all parents should allow their kids to smoke weed.
It does mean that parents have the tools necessary to make educated decisions about why they allow or disallow marijuana use. Having a conversation with your child about marijuana use can be more beneficial when stating scientific facts rather than opinions—especially because kids today can access the truth through the Internet.
Politicians are role models for many Americans. At the very least many of us look to them for guidance about issues we know little, and if they allow propaganda rather than science to mold their opinions and messages, who are we to trust?
The facts are out there, so let’s start paying attention. Marijuana is not the evil flower that history would like us to think, in fact it is saving lives in many ways. Let’s turn down the nonsense and listen to the truth!
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