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Marijuana and educational underachievement

Discussion in 'Education news' started by dunnocks, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Identical twin cousins, early 50s.

    J has 11 O levels, 3 A levels, a first class BSc, a Phd, a long, successful career, a beautiful secure home, long marriage, and two happy, successful adult children, (one academic, one not so, but doing great in their own sphere). travel, sports, holidays, good company, kind, reliable, healthy, drinks a bit, not overweight.

    K has no qualifications, a long criminal record, violent, 4 prison sentences (that I know of) , homeless, has been a rough sleeper several times, for months at a time, several broken relationships, lost touch with children taken into care, has done occasional casual manual labour, but never kept a job, dying of lung cancer.

    identical, identical lives, identical social and academic achievement until K started smoking marijuana when we were young teens, 35 years ago, and J refused.

    a very stark example, it is rarely so clear cut, but I see so many young people set of down Ks path, frequently with parents don't think its a big deal if their child does "because everybody does" and they maybe do too.

    Why aren't we taking this more seriously in society?
    Alice K, tonymars and Vince_Ulam like this.
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Perhaps because alcohol is a much bigger problem for British society and, with finite resources, they are spent on the area of greatest need.
    Andy13uk likes this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    People are more interested in their own brief gratification than in what is good for Society, and there is money to be made. In time every vice is calculated into a legitimate leisure. All very horrid. Much worse to come.
    snowyhead likes this.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    This is the argument that always comes up. "Alcohol is worse"

    That doesn't really make much sense

    Firstly, what if it is? why allow one thing to destroy lives because another thing may, by some reckonings be costing more? That's like saying "o, we need to immunise children against more infectious diseases, so lets stop bothering to teach them to cross the road safely to concentrate on the immunisations"

    Secondly, I dispute that alcohol is "worse" anyway, obviously alcohol has a terrible cost to our society, but who knows if alcohol or marijuana is responsible for more educational underachievement amongst our teens, how would it be measured, and why does comparing it matter?

    For what its worth more kids turn up to my lessons stoned than drunk,
    Alice K and Vince_Ulam like this.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Does anyone smoke marijuana who didn't first smoke tobacco? If not, stamp out the smoking of tobacco....
  6. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    "When it comes to addiction profiles, risk of death or overdose, and links to cancer, car crashes, violence, and obesity, the research suggests that marijuana may be less of a health risk than alcohol."

    This quote comes from a peer-reviewed study looking at the published data from nearly 600 studies that comprised data on 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2016.
    Pomza likes this.
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I'm specifically talking about reasons teenagers underachieve at school
    Alice K likes this.
  8. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    I too would have thought more children were affected by alcohol and tobacco than marijuana but a recent PSHE talk by our local police officer showed recent statistics for our local (rural) area indicating that far more teenagers have tried cannabis than tobacco and more of them regularly smoke weed than drink alcohol. Surprising.

    What should society be doing? It's illegal - class B - that carries quite stiff penalties if you are caught dealing.
    Alice K likes this.
  9. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Surely the fact they are 'identical twin cousins' has had a bearing on their life outcomes. Just sayin...
    camillagallop, ridleyrumpus and Pomza like this.
  10. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Agent K is a violent homeless criminal with cancer because he smoked some weed?

    Must have been a fierce strain...
  11. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    what do you mean by that?

    I'm stuck in bed at the moment and have been catching up with face book, which I rarely do. I am struck yet again by the difference between these two. They are genetically identical, and had identical start to life, same parents, same home, same school, same opportunities,

    Their lives diverged at the point at which one started on marijuana and one didn't.
    Alice K likes this.
  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    no, we are talking about a habit that started 35 years ago, so much much milder than the stuff our current students are using.
  13. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    One of my closest friends is a practicing pothead who started as a kid. She's a high achieving PhD working at director level in a multinational pharma company. Recreational drugs, like drink, aren't an automatic gateway to disaster.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  15. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Well, it is unusual to have such a clear cut difference, but this is not the only example of identical twins in my circles who demonstrate the difference between using marijuana and not using.

    I have a colleague with twins in their twenties. One non user, married, qualified, working, the other, user, in and out of psychiatric hospital, still living at home, unemployed.

    but I'm not sure that either are actually extreme outliers.

    I think it can become a vicious circle though, the worse your life goes, the more you use, the worse your life goes, etc, so self perpetuating, rather than one incident ruining your life.( which is obviously far more likely with alcohol...)

    but what really upsets me is the perception that it is common and harmless, the parents who say "everybody does it" when no, the vast majority don't, (although a lot of the parents who say that smoke it themselves) and the number of times in the average week I smell it just going around in my day to day life, it seems to be unchallenged, the smell drifting out of windows, out of cars going past, wafts into the classroom with certain classes, although hard to pin down to individuals, etc,

    Its so damaging, why isn't it taken more seriously? Why aren't parents horrified and angry and clamping down on it? Why do police walk past homes and cars with the smell pouring out of them? Why isn't it being stamped out?
    Alice K likes this.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    And thats before I even start on the people trafficking and child slavery in the industry.... ( which this thread isn't actually about)

    This thread is about

    why is the single biggest cause I know of, of educational underachievement, being completely unchecked, unchallenged and allowed to grow?
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I am sorry, I should have made it clear that I was speaking to @drvs.

    What you have reported does not surprise me.

    Certain chief constables no longer require their officers to investigate plants grown for personal use. How the number of plants grown is to be determined without inspection has not been explained by these overpaid, pesumptious worthies.
  18. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I write from the perspective of a non-user who has not had much (knowing) contact with cannabis users. There were probably a fair number of pupils who were users but I have no reliable data.
    I have no intention of using cannabis, unless degenerative illness that is ameliorated by cannabis overtakes me. I usually have good mental health (to the extent that I don't need chemically "cheering up"), I am not much of a risk taker and am aware of all sorts of health complications that come from inhaling partially combusted leaves.
    One problem I have is that medical studies have come to all sorts of conclusions, I suspect some of the reports in the media are exaggerated, but haven't had the time to unpick them.
    One of the youngsters I work with at the moment has cannabis problems, and he, in more lucid moments will admit that it's doing him no good at all. However, his background is complex, he has endured significant trauma and violence, and there are times when cannabis seems to ease the burdens of life. We are working with him to help him find alternative solutions - but this is not easy.
    I am aware of successful people (Elon Musk and Paul McCartney come to mind) who have used cannabis - what I don't know is how often, how strong and how much success is achieved in collaboration with others.

    I think that as a society, we're making progress here. I heard on the radio that only 15% of adults now smoke tobacco. I recall when it was 30%, my mother probably remembers higher percentages.

    They've cut resources for alcohol treatment. My health centre recently lost the funding for the very useful detoxification programme they used to run. I know people who have benefitted from this.

    "Wars on drugs" are rarely successful. As a society, we have had some limited success (drink driving) with alcohol control, and perhaps little effect on cannabis misuse. I think sometimes emotion gets in the way of sensible policy making.
  19. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    In my own experience I have seen more prospects /lives / relationships being wrecked by alcohol than weed. Loads of people I went to school with (1970) that smoked weed at parties grew up to write books, be inspirational speakers and departmental heads at university and rear happy families. I dare say most m.p.s will have or do indulge but most dare not admit it publicly.
  20. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Wait until it's legal.

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