Pothead Students Beat Out Kids Who Smoke Cigs

But those who abstain from both do best of all, says study

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2014 10:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – A little more ammo for the pro-marijuana crowd: A major study out of Canada finds that students who smoke pot do better in school than those who smoke tobacco or indulge in both, reports CTV. But, no, it's not about marijuana making kids smarter. In fact, kids who abstain from smoking of any kind do best of all. Chalk it up instead to the growing acceptance of pot. "It’s an indication of the changing social norms," says the lead author of the study from the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. "So it’s not an absolute that they do better; it’s that social norms have changed, and the population of people who use marijuana are more like the general population.”

The study looked at data over the last 30 years and compared kids in grades 7, 9, and 11 in 1981 with their counterparts in 2011. As the U of T News puts it, "it used to be that the kids out in the bushes smoking marijuana were the trouble makers," but the trend seems to have reversed itself. Now the kids smoking tobacco exclusively are the "marginalized" ones. The study found that 92% of students who smoke cigarettes also smoke pot, but only 25% of pot smokers also smoke tobacco. The biggest group was the 90% who reported smoking neither, and researchers say that's the way to go. "People dramatically underestimate the risks associated with cannabis use, particularly among youth," says the UT scientist.

A grower holds a marijuana plant.
A grower holds a marijuana plant.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)
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