A study out of California is sure to harsh the mellow of the pro-marijuana crowd this week. The report, issued by researchers with the University of California Davis, showed that the more pot one smoked on a recreational basis, the more likely that person would be a “loser”. To clarify, they did not find that “losers” were more likely to smoke a lot of pot; no, they found that those who smoke a lot of pot eventually are far more prone to becoming losers.

I wonder how much that study cost. I could've pointed to an ex-brother in law and reached the same conclusion, saving them a bazillion dollars.

Researchers took care to separate the “occasional” pot smoker with people who smoke it 4 times a week or more. The good news for the occasional stoner is that they “didn't find any adverse socioeconomic effects” for those users.

Still, it appears the researchers did not wish to enter the political fray surrounding legal use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Magdalena Cerda, who led the study, was quoted as saying, “Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization. But, it does show that cannabis was not safe for long-term users. 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” get stoned on a regular basis. She also indicated that “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.”

Dude, really? So regular pot smokers have trouble with math. And paying their bills. Or keeping a job. Or apparently not beating their girlfriend. And is there a difference between “intimate partner violence” and just “regular old partner violence”? While the angle on violence surprised me, the rest of it seems, well, fairly obvious. Obvious to anyone who isn't a perennially stoned loser, that is.

This is not going to play well with the highly paranoid pro-pot crowd. I understand the researcher's reticence to get involved with the legalization argument. I've written a few articles on marijuana use over the years, and the angry, hostile responses from pot supporters surprised me. For a bunch of mellow stoners, they are pretty tense and pissed off people. I can certainly see the problems they may have with relationships.

The study did not focus on any health effects from smoking marijuana regularly, just socio-economic impacts of that practice. Cerda stated that, despite perceptions that pot is safer than alcohol, “this study shows that … cannabis is just as bad as alcohol. And in terms of financial problems, cannabis is worse.”

Researchers say that these results are consistent with studies done elsewhere, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand. According to the study, “On average, persistent cannabis users from middle-class origins attained lower adult socioeconomic status than did their parents — even after we controlled for sex, ethnicity, family substance-dependence history, childhood self-control, childhood IQ, history of psychopathology, achievement orientation and adult family structure.” It also found: 

    • 52% of middle-class frequent marijuana users “experienced downward mobility” compared to only 14% of non-users.
    • 33% of non-users moved up the socioeconomic ladder, but just 7% of habitual users did. 

So the light Mary Jane user seems to be ok from this study. But it seems you cannot heavily toke your way to financial and social stability. Bummer. This news will interfere with the career plans of thousands. But again, not everyone who smokes pot every day may spend a great deal of time perusing the news or looking over their financial statements. They may not even be aware of this study. They could just be happily lying, cheating and beating their way through a hazy blissful ignorance. Unless their pissed at something. Whatever. 

Either way, the study validates what many of us who do not partake instinctually knew. People who get stoned a lot generally are not leading the world to a better place. They are not leading anything or anybody anywhere.

What a bunch of losers.


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