Posts Tagged ‘weed

So… who smokes?

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My school is known for its large percentage of stoners. There’s no way of knowing exactly how much more drug use happens at my school than at others, but it’s a reputation we proudly uphold. And thinking about the last post I made, I’ve been curious to test whether the number of my classmates who have smoked is truly as low as 1 in 5, the popular figure cited on anti-drug websites.

Enter my somewhat unscientific study of how many of my classmates have ever smoked. My school is close-knit and everyone knows everyone’s business; however, there are still some kids whose smoking habits I know nothing about. Below, green is for non-smokers (signifying inexperience), pink is for smokers (because pink and green is my favorite color combo), and murky brown is for the unknowns. All of the students in my classes are seniors, with the exception of orchestra, which is about 1/4 underclassmen.

AP Economics: Generally regarded as the hardest class in the school. On the flip side, this year it attracted so few students that nearly all the applicants got in.


15 smoke, 13 don’t, and I’m not sure about 3. So far smokers have a plurality, but as browns could go either way, the race is close.

AP English: A medium level class with a famously lenient teacher. Lots of people applied, so the selection process was a little rushed/random (e.g. the genius kid somehow didn’t get in, but the kid with a 3.2 and 1800 SATs– not that they’re an accurate measure of intelligence, but still– did), and the class is on the large side.


21 smoke, 9 don’t, and I’m not sure about 7. But even if every brown were green, smokers would remain in the majority… showing that more smokers choose to take the less serious class? That teens like to read literature while lit?

Art, the notorious class of 12th-grade stoners. About half the students attend the class on any given day, and we spend most of the time listening to music and eating junk food, courtesy of the teacher.

art111 smoke, 3 don’t, and I’m not sure about 2. Actually, four people left the class in January, at the start of the new semester– one took AP Psych, one took martial arts, one got a free period, and one got suspended and is doing an independent study. They all smoked; if I included them, the percentages would shift to 75% smokers, 15% non-smokers, and 10% not sure. Also, the students of Art smoke more regularly than do the students of AP Econ.

Orchestra: the dorkiest class in the school, hands down. The students are typically “good kids” and relatively quiet; most are virtually unknown. However, a handful of the orchestra kids are among the most well-known in the school.

orch12 smoke, 13 don’t, and I’m not sure about 4. Of the smokers, about six (including myself) are in the fairly-regular-but-still-casual range; two deal and get stoned every day, and four are the typical “Smoked twice in sophomore year” bunch. It’s common knowledge that only about one-fourth of orchestra students have ever been to a party; the ones who go out on weekends are the same eight who smoke. So, what are the others doing with their time? Only three other seniors (out of 12) are taking at least one AP class; most orch students earn between a 3.0 and 3.5 in non-honors classes. A B-average is by no means a bad thing, but I have to admit I’m a little surprised that the grades aren’t higher. I guess I always assumed that the stereotypical “good kids” were hard studiers, but perhaps they’re spending their at-home Friday nights playing video games.

Conclusion: Of course, relatively few of the smokers are true stoners, but far more than 20% of kids at my school have touched weed. And our academics are among the highest-ranked in the city (no pun intended), which goes to show you that casual drug use isn’t synonymous with deemed failure.


Written by jane

April 3, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Posted in teens

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Being a teen sucks, #10

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#10: Weed = Meth = teenage pregnancy, STDs, squalid life of living on the streets.

Scare tactics. Anyone who has smoked pot will become a heroin addict, because didn’t you know that marijuana is the gateway drug? Also, being stoned means you have no control over yourself.

The high feels great, the side-effects are relatively minor– marijuana is simply too attractive for some teens to pass up. And because making a legitimate case against weed is difficult (just look at the conflicting scientific results that come up when you Google “marijuana harm studies”), groups like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America take an increasingly alarmist stance in their PSAs, creating horror stories that link getting high with stealing, shooting up, being slutty! Even the most plausible ads, like those that stress the “altered perception” that results from marijuana, are risible. So… why were we smoking this, again, if not to reach a different feeling from normality? Does this mean that consuming large quantities of alcohol impairs my judgment? Should I not drink, eat three pot brownies, and drive??

The majority of anti-marijuana campaigns insult my intelligence and that of my classmates. In junior year I attended a mandatory assembly on National Meth Awareness Day (yes, it does exist), which covered all drugs in one go (lumping together all designated drugs, another thing I dislike). Somewhere in the PowerPoint presentation came a slide illustrated with The Cycle of Drug Use, in this case, weed. It proclaimed that smoking leads to poverty, which leads to dealing and prostitution, which leads to homelessness and ultimately more drug use. As stated above, I dislike the way these campaigns equate casual smoking with these serious problems, as well as how the campaigns judge the aforementioned prostitution and homelessness as demonic, dehumanized evils. I know some people in the projects who are proof that most of us are only one or two disastrous instances away from losing our homes… a parent walks away, grandma needs medical care but has no insurance, mom loses her job… and many of the homeless in San Francisco are veterans who never received help with their mental illnesses, simple as that. Hard drug use is more of a side-effect than a cause of homelessness, let alone marijuana.

Smoking anything is bad for your lungs, and may increase your chances of getting lung cancer. If you smoke several joints a day for fifteen years, you might have a greater risk of getting a heart attack or having a stroke. And of course, if you blindly take anything and consume it, there’s a chance you’ll consume other things along with it. But though pot smoke may possibly be more toxic than tobacco smoke, people who smoke weed tend to inhale a lot less than cigarette smokers– one wouldn’t smoke sixty blunts a day, the equivalent of three packs– thus diminishing the total toxicity in weed smokers’ lungs. And weed happens to be the least addictive of drugs: social addiction, yes; physical addiction, not likely. So the moral of this story is that anti-drug groups have to exert a lot of effort to market marijuana to teens as unattractive, and do so at the expense of logical, scientific, and journalistic integrity.

P.S. On that same Meth Day assembly, the speaker concluded that drinking alcohol is a valued tradition because the Romans drank wine, but that opium and marijuana are crass because they don’t have the same historical weight. Yeah… Eurocentrism, much?

Written by jane

March 28, 2009 at 1:01 PM

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