Post by Joanna on Apr 13, 2016 18:03:45 GMT -5
Study Shows Long-term Pot Users are Losers
International research has revealed that the more cannabis you smoke, the more likely you are to be a loser in a low-paying position who has difficulties in relationships. The study followed subjects from birth up to age 38 and found people who smoked cannabis four or more days a week over many years ended up in a lower socioeconomic level than that into which they were born. Financial, work-related and personal difficulties were also experienced by those using the drug and such difficulties worsened through the years. The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Magdalena Cerda at the University of California and Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt at Duke University, appeared in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
“Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization,” said Cerda. “But it does show that cannabis was not safe for the long-term users tracked in our study. 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. Regular long-term users also had more antisocial behaviors at work, such as stealing money or lying to get a job, and experienced more relationship problems, such as intimate partner violence and controlling abuse.”
Researchers claimed the study was important because it addresses an array of “potentially confounding factors” not included in past studies assessing the effects of long-term cannabis use. Economic and social problems persisted in long-term, regular users of pot even after the authors accounted for other potential differences between regular cannabis users and other participants. These factors included socioeconomic problems in childhood, lower IQ, antisocial behavior and depression in adolescence, higher levels of impulsivity, lower motivation to achieve, criminal conviction of cannabis users, and abuse of alcohol and hard drugs.
“These findings did not arise because cannabis users were prosecuted and had a criminal record,” said Caspi, a psychologist at Duke University and King's College London. “Even among cannabis users who were never convicted for a cannabis offense, we found that persistent and regular cannabis use was linked to economic and social problems.”
While both heavy alcohol and cannabis use were similarly associated with declines, the authors found those dependent on cannabis experienced more financial difficulties. “Cannabis may be safer than alcohol for your health, but not for your finances,” asserted Moffitt.
For the study, 947 participants had completed at least three of the five adult cannabis assessments from ages 18 through 38. Eighteen percent, or 173 participants, were considered marijuana-dependent in at least one wave of the study, and 15 percent fell into the regular cannabis use categories.
If You Want to Achieve Anything in Life, Don't Smoke Pot
This advice runs contrary to the current popular culture. Recreational marijuana use has gone mainstream in the past few years as various states have legalized its use. Celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa, Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus (above) have admitted to using it, and openly promote legalization at the federal level. Marijuana, which was once considered a gateway drug, is now lauded for its medicinal properties and has been rebranded as a safe, herbal alternative to achieving relaxation.
Drugs are bad. Not too long ago, smoking pot was considered a bad thing. Everyone knew it wasn’t as bad as the so-called “hard drugs” like heroin and cocaine, but no one regarded it as a good thing. People who smoked lots of pot were called “burnouts” or “stoners” because the excessive marijuana consumption killed their ambition and made them stupid. Pot was also believed to be a gateway drug that leads to the use of harder drugs. If you grew up in the 80s, you probably remember the “This is your brain on drugs” commercial featuring an egg sizzling in the frying pan or the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) that was taught in virtually every school.
The trend carried over into the 90s with a similar PSA featuring one time “it” girl Rachael Leigh Cook, slamming pots and pans to demonstrate the effects of drug use on all aspects of life. At the time, there had been a rash of Hollywood and music industry deaths related to drug abuse such as that of actor River Phoenix and Sublime lead singer and guitarist, Bradley Nowell. The message back then was clear – all drug use is destructive and should be avoided at all costs.
A makeover for pot. At some point, attitudes toward marijuana changed. It was probably a combination of the libertarian movement to legalize drug usage and the medical marijuana movement that gave pot-smoking a rehabilitation. Whatever the cause, smoking pot is no longer viewed as something reserved for life’s losers. Now, smoking pot is cool.
The other night, I watched the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. As I am not a 12-year-old girl, I wasn’t terribly interested in the performances. Who wants to watch Miley Cyrus prancing about in ridiculous outfits with her disgusting tongue hanging out? But the VMAs are a good bellwether for where our society is headed. This year’s show provided an interesting glimpse into MTV’s progressive and ultimately degrading message: Smoke pot, because Miley and virtually every other talentless bonehead on stage does, too. Miley’s entire shtick for the evening could be summed up as “the wild child who loves weed.” Cyrus even closed the show with the line, “Yeah, I smoke pot.”
But this passion for “Mary Jane” extended to other honorees as well. Kanye West, who received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, gave a rambling speech in which he used the word “bro” a lot and let slip that he got high before going onstage. West then concluded with an announcement that he would be running for president in 2020. I suppose his pot use won’t hurt him, as President Obama was the leader of the Choom Gang when he was in high school.
If all these great “successes” are smoking weed, why shouldn’t you? It turns out there are some good reasons to throw away your pipe, bong and rolling papers.
Pot and schizophrenia. The use of marijuana has been correlated to schizophrenia. For those who are unfamiliar with the disease, schizophrenia is a terrible, disabling brain disorder that causes its sufferers to experience psychosis. Typically, people who suffer from schizophrenia hear voices and feel that some group is monitoring them. I knew a schizophrenic man who told me that the Vatican was following him. It would have been pointless to try to reason with him. Schizophrenia frequently crops up in notorious murder cases. Almost invariably, if the perpetrators turn out to be schizophrenic, they are also heavy marijuana users. For example, Colorado theater shooter James Holmes and Tucson shooter Jared Loughner were both pot smokers.
I once attended a lecture by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia. Torrey mentioned that if he could do one thing to reduce the incidence of schizophrenia among young people, he would post a huge sign at every rock concert warning users that smoking pot increases your chance of becoming schizophrenic by 10 times.
The most recent studies seem to indicate that marijuana can trigger the onset of schizophrenia in people who are predisposed to the condition. That is, many people will be able to smoke pot with no risk of ever developing the disease. But is it worth the risk? Are you feeling lucky?
Smoking pot can stifle motivation. All drugs have side effects, but the popular media would have us believe that pot is an exception. The worst side effect that I have noticed in heavy pot users is loss of motivation. These folks seem to be content with frittering their lives away, achieving nothing, and doing as little as possible except smoking weed. But my evidence is anecdotal. However, there is some solid research that backs up the observation that using pot stifles ambition. A 2013 study conducted by scientists at Imperial College London determined that long-term cannabis users produce less dopamine, a chemical linked to motivation. This study led researchers to conclude that: “Long-term cannabis use may blunt the brain’s motivation system.” The bottom line is that if you’re someone trying to your life, smoking pot is going to take you in the opposite direction.
Other side effects of cannabis use. There is currently a debate in scientific circles concerning the effects of marijuana on sex. The research is contradictory. In animal studies, cannabis has been found to lower testosterone levels, but the human studies have not been conclusive. While we are waiting for a study to definitively settle the question, the prudent course is to avoid using anything that would negatively impact your testosterone levels. The testosterone levels of American men have been dropping since the 1980s – you probably already have lower T levels than your father or grandfather. It doesn’t make sense to do things that might lower it even more.
If you want to succeed, don’t numb yourself. Even if marijuana didn’t carry the risk of triggering schizophrenia, stifling motivation, or decreasing testosterone levels, it would still be a bad idea. To achieve success takes a lot of work. Numbing yourself, whether by drinking too much alcohol or smoking pot, will interfere with and adversely affect achievement, and there’s always the risk such addiction will lead to your downfall.
Truly successful people focus on achieving their goals. Real estate titan Donald Trump has a strict no drugs/no alcohol ethic that he has passed to his children. Gene Simmons, leader of the rock band Kiss, also avoided drugs and alcohol, even when the band was at its peak of popularity. Founding father Benjamin Franklin was a teetotaler in his younger days. It was only after he had accomplished great things in business, science and politics that he indulged in the occasional bottle of wine.
Conclusion. A self-absorbed populace is easy to rule. That’s why rulers have always provided diversions to keep the masses distracted. In ancient Rome, it was the games in the Colosseum. Today, the media, our celebrities, and other members of our new “aristocracy,” encourage us to enjoy life and light up our medical marijuana cigarettes. If you require additional reasons to avoid using pot, take a look at those who are pushing its use. This alone should be enough to convince you to do the opposite.
Sources: Alexander Robertson, The Daily Mail, April 2, 2016, and Michael Sebastian, Return of Kings, September 4, 2015.