Researchers say marijuana is less of a drag than cigarettes

Day 106, 00:07 Published in Norway Norway by Svetlana

A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine was completed on 5,263 teenage students in Switzerland and is producing some hair raising results. In line with a lot of studies that have been released in 2007 and 2008, this study boldly claims that it has found that marijuana use does not produce the fearful symptoms spread by anti-drug groups. The study seems to make a case that teenagers who use only marijuana, opposed to students who use marijuana and cigarettes are more active in sports, have better grades, are more socially adept and have used less illegal drugs.

As this might seem completely crazy to some as they nod their head in doubt, we’ll cover the actual study statistics so you can define your own truth. Before we jump into the specific study data, it is important to note that this study was completed in Switzerland where laws around marijuana are more lax and it is more socially acceptable to use the drug. America definitely has much tougher laws on marijuana use and possession. Now that we have established the liberal differences, let’s jump into the data of the actual study.

If you would like to review this study in it’s published format at the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine you can get it [a url=]here[/a].The study was carried out at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland by J.C. Suris, M.D., Ph.D., and a group of his peers. A national survey was given to 5,263 Swiss students that ranged from 16 - 20 years old. One thing to note that could throw a slight curve-ball in these results is the way the Swiss educational system is structured. In Switzerland at age 16 students decide whether to attend high school (students on their way to obtain a university education, 30% of 16 year olds) or whether to go to vocational school (apprentices who spend two thirds of the week working in a company related to their field, 60% of 16 year olds) and the other 10% decide to do their own thing. While the study did a great job of mixing responses from students attending high school or vocational school, it would seem the 10 percent of dropouts might have provided important data to the study conclusions.

Putting the educational system differences aside, the study produced clear data that shows some surprising conclusions. From all 5,263 students in the study they break down like this: 1,703 smoked marijuana and cigarettes, 455 smoked only marijuana and 3,105 abstained from both marijuana and cigarettes. Directly from the study the researchers state, “Our findings in this nationally representative sample of adolescents show that 6 percent of them use cannabis without having used tobacco and that one-fifth of current cannabis users (21.1 percent) declare never having used tobacco.”

When you look at the students that claimed to have never used marijuana or cigarettes, you find interesting and unexpected differences. The survey found that non-users that claimed to play sports tallied up to 76.6 percent but 85.5 percent of “marijuana only” users played sports. With the repeated mentions of [a url=]amotivational syndrome[/a] found in marijuana users in other studies, the sports participation was definitely surprising. In addition to sports, 87 percent of marijuana users said they had good friendships opposed to 82.2 percent of non-users. Sports and MarijuanaA nearly 20 percent difference was found in sensation-seeking teens with 37.8 percent of marijuana users seekers and 21.8 percent of non-users sensation-seekers. The parent relationships didn’t have a striking difference with 74.1 percent of teens using marijuana less likely to have a good relationship with their parents and 82.4 percent of non-users less likely to have a good relationship with their parents. As one can imagine, it can be a challenge to have a good relationship with any teen on the parental level throughout the various stages of their teen years if marijuana is involved or not.

Looking directly at the original comparison between marijuana only users and tobacco and marijuana users, you see bigger differences in the sports and grade portions of the study. When looking at playing sports, marijuana only users were at 85.5 percent and marijuana and tobacco users only had 66.7 percent of them playing sports. So a nearly 22 percent difference of these users playing sports seems to show that cigarettes put the kabosh on extracurricular activities in school. An 11 percent difference showed up when talking about grades in school. Marijuana only users were tallied at 77.5 percent with good grades and marijuana and cigarette users were only at 66.5 percent. As you might expect, the grades suffered due to using too many substances at once. It was eluded to in the survey that teens using marijuana and cigarettes were more likely to abuse alcohol and other illegal drugs too.

Alcoholic DrinksOther important parts of the study to take note of were that marijuana users were less likely to have drank alcohol in the last 30 days and less likely to have used any other illegal drugs when compared to students who smoked both marijuana and cigarettes. One thing to note about the marijuana only users that seems to show a reason for some of the differences is they claimed they were less likely to have used marijuana more than once or twice in the last 30 days. So although the teens classified as marijuana only users were in fact using marijuana, they truly were not spending their afternoons toking up.

There are more categories and comparisons that were revealed by the study, but we have covered most of the more interesting ones. If you want to delve deeper into the study remember that you can grab the scientific report from the link above.

As a listener to the Business Shrink radio show and a reader of the blog we want to know what you think about this study? Does anything seem not to add up to you? We would love to get your comments and how well you think this study applies to American students and if it has revealed anything surprising to you. The efforts behind medical marijuana legalization have become even more heated in the last year and this study seems to add to the fire. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on America’s growing acceptance of marijuana.

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