According to the LA times, 1 in 3 high school seniors smoke pot. This news is not that shocking to most of us, but apparently surprising enough that Obama’s “Drug Czar” and the rest of the old people in this country are up in arms (and probably somehow blaming Miley). Look, I get it. Despite the recent research proving the many benefits of tokin’ a little green now and then, many people still only see the negative side of things.
Studies centered on long time marijuana use have shown impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking/problem solving, problems with memory and learning. Chronic users may even have learning and memory loss that can last for days or weeks. Even scarier, “Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent)” (Drugabuse.gov).
Yes, those are some scary facts and most definitely should concern us all. But one thing many people (namely those people who are freaking out about the recent rise in marijuana use) don’t realize is that those results are based on participants who are long time and chronic pot smokers, not to mention people who might dabble in some other recreational drugs.
So instead of focusing on the negative, let’s find the silver lining, shall we?
First and foremost, this study shows not that more teens are smoking pot but that for the first time in a long time, high school students are smoking more pot than cigarettes. Isn’t that a good thing? Couldn’t that mean that less students are smoking harmful, unhealthy, disgusting cigarettes? And even though chronic weed use may have some pretty scary side affects, I think we can all agree that cigarettes cause far more harm: ease of addiction; yellow teeth and nails; thinning hair; wrinkles; bad breath; smelling gross in general; and lung, throat and mouth cancer.
Yes, learning your sweet, innocent child smokes pot may be a little (well a lot) concerning, but isn’t a little pot here and there way better than chain smoking Marlboro Lights between first and second period? And in the grand scheme of things, it’s just pot. Yes, just pot. There are far worse and more addictive drugs kids could be doing. And just because someone “smoked pot in the past 30 days” (which is what this particular study was asking), it doesn’t mean they are going to be some Phish-obsessed stoner with a bong collection in their college dorm room.
With all the other drugs out there, taking a hit of a blunt (or, as this study referred to it, a “marijuana cigarette”) sometimes isn’t such a big deal. Just because high school students are smoking it does not mean they are abusing it. This is really not that big a deal. Let them do their thang, eat their Fritos, realize it’s not that fun and be done with it.