Gee, What A Surprise: Pot Isn’t Good For Teenagers! Funny, I Figured That Out When I Was 16…

This post is going to be uncharacteristically short considering the seriousness of the issue, because I’m going to just get angrier and sadder the longer I think about it.

A new Columbia University study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed data from more than 68,000 teens surveyed by National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The researchers found that using marijuana while not being addicted to it was “significantly associated” with psychiatric disorders. Obviously teens addicted to pot had even worse outcomes, but those who use cannabis recreationally were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression and to have suicidal thoughts than those who don’t use pot at all. The researchers also found a link between cannabis use and poor academic performance, skipping school and getting in trouble with the law.

This comes as approximately as much of a surprise to me as the revelation that tobacco caused lung cancer. I figured out when I was still in high school that a little-researched drug that you inhaled and that made you instantly inarticulate and stupid was doing something to your brain, and shouldn’y be used no matter how many “friends” and celebrities told you it was “cool” and that you were a weenie for not toking up. Fortunately, being the son of a lawyer and decorated veteran who believed laws should be obeyed, the fact that pot was illegal was enough for me, as it was for most people until the revolting Sixties. That was when the Left jumped the rails and started opposing laws generally (“Steal This Book” was an Abbie Hoffman hit. Abbie was also big pot fan. And he killed himself…)

The full force of popular culture was employed to sell the idea that pot was as harmless as bubble gum despite all evidence to the contrary. Then “medical marijuana” punched a hole in coherent enforcement; state governments, as they did with gambling, decided that they would rather make money than keep the public healthy, and now a big, ugly genie is out of the bottle for good. I totally failed in my efforts to fight this damaging cultural wave: a young man who is very dear to me began using weed in his teens, and had, and continues to have, all of the problems the Columbia researchers associated with pot use.

The arrogance, foolishness, lack of responsibility and defiance of common sense that created this societal malady—as if we didn’t have enough of them already—was unforgivable, and I’m not going to forgive it, ever. Screw you all, NORMAL, Cheech and Chong, John, Paul, George and Ringo, the Not Ready For Prime Time Players, Hollywood, Barack Obama, Timothy Leary, and all the other rich and privileged pot users who didn’t care what endorsing illegal drug use would do society, kids, and especially poor and minority communities.

This wasn’t hard to see coming, but you valued your little daily highs more. Well, I’m stuck living in the dumber, less healthy and more chaotic world you created. Congratulations.

8 thoughts on “Gee, What A Surprise: Pot Isn’t Good For Teenagers! Funny, I Figured That Out When I Was 16…

  1. So the study associates marijuana use with depression. But is there any proof that marijuana causes depression rather than people with depression wanting to seek relief from their depression by using marijuana to relieve their symptoms?

    • I agree. Teenagers have been screwing up forever. Being a teenager is dangerous and too often fatal. My paranoid schizophrenic best high school friend self-medicated with every illegal drug (while refusing to take his prescription anti-psychotics). But that’s not to say pot’s a good thing.

      I will also say modern pot is a totally different drug than pot of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies. It’s been hybridized and synthesized to be terrifyingly potent to the point it’s almost physically paralyzing. Plus, pot is evidently killing kids because it’s being laced with fentanyl. I bet modern pot does enhance depression and paranoia.

  2. I trust JAMA about as much as I trust Biden to improve the economy. Remember their wacky stances on “trans” kids. But yes, this is no surprise. Weed is a depressant so of course the kids get depressed. Mix that with booze and the crazy stuff going on in schools and social media you’ve got a recipe for unhappy kids.

  3. I’m 100% with you with respect to your position on weed, Jack, but I’m afraid, as others have pointed out, that this study doesn’t add to the evidence base one way or another. It is impossible to say based on these findings whether toking leads to mental health and cognitive issues or vice versa.

  4. This study demonstrates one of the destructive consequences of worthless research produced by the scientific research community. For researchers as the saying goes publish or perish. To gain notoriety in research, researchers frequently are judged by quantity and not quality. Also important for researcher recognition is the number of studies that cite your study. This study demonstrates the practice of creating worthless research solely for the benefit of the researchers.

    From the study, there is a strong correlation between cannabis use by adolescents and adverse psychosocial events. Is one a causative agent of the other? Maybe, the researchers have no idea. The study wasn’t designed to answer that question, but others could use the study to support additional studies both pro and against cannabis use arguments.

    This study takes a topic guaranteed to draw interest. Does an observational study of the survey data. Writes the report so that it can be used as supporting evidence for those both for and against cannabis use. My supposition is supported by this EA post and comments.

    • If the evidence is ambiguous, then the substance should not be universally accepted as harmless. Tobacco got to millions of people because it was difficult to prove direct causation. When we are talking about the mental development and emotional health of children, correlation should be sufficient to proceed with caution. Essentially conformation bias has propelled pot use to the level of acceptability it now has in the culture, and there is no going back. The argument that the research is inconclusive has been used to justify taking an irresponsible leap…because people like getting high, and that’s all that matters.

      • My position is the study is crap. It was produced solely to write a study about something. The study demonstrated that pot use correlates with adverse psychological events. The study does not say one causes the other. It is highly possible and probable that pot use and adverse psychological events are independent of each other. It is also probable that some portion of the subjects in the study had adverse psychological events which led them to use pot as an escape. The point of my comment has nothing to do with pot use or abstinence. My point is it is unethical to promote research that only benefits the researchers and does nothing else.

  5. Let me share another recent revelation on a medical blog I subscribe to . The use of cannabis by pregnant women has a deleterious effect on fetal brain development.! Like you my response is a mournful “duh”.

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