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Teen Marijuana Use: How Concerned Should We Be?

Jan 15, 2013

While some studies show that teen alcohol and cigarette use is declining, a new trend is appearing: teens thinking marijuana is harmless. Recent research reveals some new findings regarding marijuana and why it is important to talk to your kids about using this popular drug:

  • Teens are getting experimental at younger ages: The Department of Health and Human Services reported the age of first time users is 16.4 years old. A study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found 6.5% of high school seniors smoke marijuana on a regular basis.

  • Marijuana is addictive: Over the last 15 years, the concentration levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has more than doubled. The potency of today’s marijuana is much higher than it was years ago, which can lead to stronger withdrawal symptoms, more emergency visits, and more admissions into treatment programs.

  • Teens are vulnerable to marijuana: Researchers and experts have found that teens who start smoking at a young age tend to use it more frequently and in larger quantities than those who start using it later in life. Marijuana often is used as a social or emotional coping mechanism.

  • Many teens drive under the influence: A Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) survey found almost 20% of teens admitted to driving while high on marijuana. Another study found one-third of drivers who were fatally injured in car accidents tested positive for drugs, the most common drug being marijuana.

According to these recent studies, marijuana does pose risks to teens today. It is important to talk to children about the drug, how it has changed over the years, and how it can negatively affect them.

Learn More: Marijuana, Consequences of Drug Abuse, Signs of Drug Use

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