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Teens Listening to Music about Marijuana Are Twice as Likely To Smoke It

Teens Listening to Music about Marijuana Are Twice as Likely To Smoke It
© Photo Credit: Mr. Beaver
Ninth graders who have a favorite artist with three or more songs that contain marijuana references are 2 times more likely to be current marijuana smokers than teen who favor artists not singing about marijuana.

Teens listening to pop music artists who refer to marijuana are more likely to be marijuana smokers than teens listening to artists not singing about the drug.

That’s what researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have concluded after studying the listening habits and marijuana use patterns of 959 ninth graders.


  • The average ninth grader listens to 21.8 hours of music per week and is exposed to roughly 40 marijuana references per day in music
  • 12% of the ninth graders studied were current regular marijuana smokers, with 32% having tried the drug at least once.
  • Students who stated they had a favorite artist with 3 or more songs with marijuana references were twice as likely to be current marijuana smokers as teens whose favorite artists had no songs with marijuana references
  • Significantly, students who listened to more music about marijuana smoking were more likely to smoke marijuana but they were no more likely to engage in other high risk behaviors, such as drinking alcohol.

The researchers controlled for confounding factors, such as age, race and economic factors when calculating their findings.

Researchers can’t say whether it’s the marijuana reference laden music that causes students to use marijuana or whether students who use marijuana seek out music about marijuana use.

Lead researcher, Dr. Brian Primack, commented on the significance of the findings by saying that “these results may help us develop more effective programs on drug education. For example, media literacy programs may help young people more accurately analyze and evaluate the marijuana-related messages they are likely to hear in popular music."

The full study results can be read in the online version of the journal, Addiction.

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