Marijuana Use as Social Deviation

Topic: Social Psychology
Words: 404 Pages: 1
A doctor with marijuana
Figure 1. A doctor with marijuana

The example I choose for this assignment is an image from an online article. I was interested in several social deviant behaviors, and marijuana use was one of the first options. Today, people develop various attitudes toward marijuana, addressing its positive and negative health outcomes. When I found a picture of a doctor handing a cannabis leaf, I liked the idea of comparing social reactions to marijuana use. One of the most interesting points is that society might react to this picture differently. Many people believe that marijuana brings nothing except brain development challenges, but some individuals support medical cannabis to minimize pain, reduce seizures, and manage chronic disorders (Ward, 2020). Thus, it is normal for someone not to react to this image aggressively, while others could question its appropriateness and legitimacy. I cannot understand my feelings about the chosen media example because of the contradictions between my personal preferences and academic knowledge. I have always considered marijuana dangerous, depriving people of control and rational thinking. At the same time, I cannot ignore cannabis for medical purposes in some cases, which I am lucky not to experience.

I have several reasons to explain why this example should be considered deviance. Deviance is the departure from norms, which results in social disapproval of actions due to dangerous and usually negative outcomes (Clinard & Meier, 2016). For years, marijuana has been discussed as a danger to humans provoking dependence, behavioral changes, and physical abnormalities (Ward, 2020). It is correct to define marijuana users as deviants despite the possibility of changing social norms with time and its medical benefits. Today, many doctors do not accept cannabis as a treatment method as they are not sure of its influence on young patient. According to control theory, deviance is provoked by the absence of social control and restraint or a lack of personal self-control (Clinard & Meier, 2016). The gratification of the desire to reduce pain or obtain emotional relief with the help of marijuana is the first sign of low self-control, which might contribute to deviant behavior, dependence, and abuse with time. Therefore, this picture makes people think about the true essence of marijuana use, its outcomes, and the necessity to consider alternatives because it is not the only appropriate solution.


Clinard, M. B., & Meier, R. F. (2016). Sociology of deviant behavior (15th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Ward, M. (2020). Pediatricians seeing a growing demand for medical cannabis for kids. The Conversation. Web.

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