BLAZE IT. A woman smokes marijuana in a bar in Washington. photo/ MCTcampus
BLAZE IT. A woman smokes marijuana in a bar in Washington. photo/John Glionna/Los Angeles Times/ MCTcampus


Teenagers all around the country are deeming marijuana safe to use according to CNN Health. This year’s Monitoring the Future survey said that more than a third of the seniors surveyed admitted to smoking marijuana in the past year.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as much as 60 percent of high-school seniors no longer see marijuana as a danger to their health, up from 55 percent from last year. A report done in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that around 39 percent of high-school students admitted to using marijuana at least once in their life. A similar survey in 1993 revealed around 2.4 percent of high-school seniors reported using marijuana daily. This number has increased to 6.5 percent as of this year.  Younger students have also reported using marijuana, with more than 12 percent of eighth-graders saying they have smoked marijuana.

“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. Daily use today can have stronger effects on the developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago,” NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow said in a statement published by CNN. “The children whose experimentation leads to regular use are setting themselves up for declines in IQ and diminished ability for success in life.”

The report also raises concerns at the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, and how it may be influencing the use of drugs among teenagers. 19 states including the District of Columbia have already allowed for the medical use of marijuana, and many other states are planning to follow. For example, People United for Medical Marijuana, a central florida group, is campaigning to place medicinal marijuana on the 2014 ballot. Groups like these may be skewing the image of marijuana in a teens head.

“I think it’s highly over-rated and is unnecessary for people to use. It should only be for medical purposes,” junior Larritza Elmore said.

Additional reports done by the National Institute for Drug Abuse showed that significant differences were found in educational gains by those who used marijuana on a regular basis. Fewer of the heavy users of cannabis completed college, and more had yearly household incomes of less than $30,000. Studies have also shown that students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.

“Studies and information on the long term use of marijuana should continue to be published, much like the ill effects of smoking cigarettes,” health sciences teacher Amy Parker said. “Perhaps over time people will get it.”

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