Fewer Teens Think Marijuana is Harmful

The recent legalization of marijuana in some parts of the country and a more lackadaisical view on smoking pot may be attributing to the decreasing percentage of teenagers who believe regular marijuana use is harmful.

New data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse also shows that teen marijuana use is high, with 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoking marijuana daily, compared to 6 percent in 2003 and 2.4 percent in 1993.

The same survey shows that 39.5 percent of seniors believe regular marijuana use is harmful, compared to 44.1 percent last year.

“This is not just an issue of increased daily use,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., in a press release. “It is important to remember that over the past two decades, levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have gone up a great deal, from 3.75 percent in 1995 to an average of 15 percent in today’s marijuana cigarettes. Daily use today can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago.”

About 23 percent of seniors admitted to smoking marijuana in the month prior to the survey, and 36 percent in the year prior. Twelve percent of eighth graders also said they used marijuana in the last year.

Parents are encouraged to talk early and often to their children about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. To learn how, visit www.drugfree.org.



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Liz Hayes
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