Some writers are interesting. They love putting in their own opinions in a story related to facts.

One writer for the Los Angeles Times recently wrote in an article that, essentially, if you use marijuana frequently (at least four times a week) for a long period of time, you are a “loser.”

That is not always a good way to motivate people to quit, is by making personal attacks on people who may have a legitimate addiction.

The writer was recapping results of a recent study conducted by researchers at several universities but headed up by a panel at the University of California, Davis. While I may take exception to the term “loser” being attached to all frequent pot-smokers, I am certainly not surprised by the results of this study, which followed 1,000 New Zealanders for a couple of decades and monitored their marijuana use during a certain stretch of their lives and compared it to their parents’ usage.

The results of the study paint a not-so-good picture for those who use marijuana regularly: The study, which measured cannabis use in socioeconomics and social dynamics, found that more than half of frequent users saw “downward mobility” in socioeconomic status – in other words, if they were middle class at the start, they were lower-middle class or poor by the end of the study – while only about one in seven non-users experienced the same downward movement.

While marijuana use tends to push people down, that doesn’t mean that not using actually improves success, does it? Actually, the research found that one in three non-users saw improvement in their socioeconmic status, while only one in 15 frequent users had the same success. And this was the case no matter how the data was split up – by age, sex, economic class, race, and other factors.

In other words, to paraphrase The Hunger Games, using marijuana ensures the odds are ever NOT in your favor.

We must note that the results of this study are conveniently released now, as the state of California may deal with a ballot measure this November that could legalize casual use of marijuana in the state – currently it is allowed for medical purposes. The study’s authors insist that it did not release the study now, during the petition-signature-gathering period, as a way of swaying public opinion on the issue of legalization.

However, the study results also seemed to show that for those who frequently use (which may be a lot more Californians if marijuana is legalized, than will currently admit) not only don’t do as well economically, but they are also much less likely to keep a job, get promoted, and more likely to have poor relationship dynamics, whether with family members or in romantic relations including marriages.

Could Californians be essentially affirming a poor, dysfunctional society by making marijuana legal?

Other research, which was all but affirmed by this study, has shown that cannabis is in some ways equal to alcohol – a legal and regulated drug – and in some ways is actually worse than alcohol in terms of some of the socioeconomic and relationship issues, including issues of abuse, addiction and violence.

And what of this term “loser” that the writer was so quick to use in this piece? A definition shows a history of bad effort or lack of effort. This study seemed to only show that people were becoming losers but were not the entire time they were users. Being a “loser” is not a current status report; it is based on history. Having a downward trend doesn’t make you a loser; a consistent pattern of underperformance makes it so.

Before you get into that pattern of underperformance to be called “loser” with good reason, recognize your downward trend and stop it by addressing your marijuana use. This study can be used as a good wake-up call for those who have been trending negatively but have not hit the bottom yet and stayed there.

You are not a “loser” yet, but you can control whether you get there.


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