"God put weed here for us to smoke" is a quote researchers used to title their new study published in the Substance Abuse Journal. Previous research suggests spirituality and/or religiosity can support recoveries from substance abuse, but the participants were typically adults. This study wanted to see if adolescents have the same experience, and the findings suggest they might not, at least when it comes to cannabis.
"Results showed that higher levels of spirituality at post-treatment predicted increased cannabis use at [the] 6-month follow-up, whereas higher levels of baseline spirituality predicted a lower likelihood of heavy drinking at post-treatment," the study found.
So youths who embrace spirituality or religion tend to curb their drinking habits but increase their cannabis use. Does this mean the Holy Spirit is no match for the Blue Dream?
The study continued, "When asked to describe the relation between their religious/spiritual views and their substance use, adolescents described believing that they had a choice about their substance use and were in control of it, feeling more spiritual when under the influence of cannabis, and being helped by substance use."
Clearly the study had limitations. The difference between embracing spirituality and joining an evangelical church is as stark as the difference between Elizabeth Warren and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Still, these youths disregarded religious prohibitions and embraced cannabis because they believed it supported their recoveries.
"Religion and spirituality may not counteract the use of cannabis," the study concluded. "[This] may be explained by adolescents' views of their substance use as being consistent with their spirituality and under their control."