Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

25% of Seniors Report Recent Marijuana Use

It may be due to the increasingly positive public opinion about marijuana, the new laws that legalize the drug for medical use and even recreational use in some states, or it may be an increase of access to the drug caused by these same issues. But more and more teens are using marijuana. In addition, many teens are going on to develop a long-term marijuana abuse problem or addiction as a result.

Monitoring the Future: Identifying Current Teen Marijuana Abuse Trends

The 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey found that about 25 percent of 12th graders in the United States are reporting past-month use of marijuana. The survey is done annually to assess the use of and attitudes toward different substances among American 8th graders, 10th graders, and 12th graders. It also found that about 36 percent of high school seniors reported smoking marijuana in the year prior to the survey; about 6.5 percent said that they used marijuana every day.

The numbers are just as alarming in younger teens. Though the numbers are lower compared to high school seniors, they are higher when compared to past years. About 3.5 percent of 10th graders say they smoke marijuana daily, 17 percent report past-month marijuana use, and 28 percent say they’ve used the drug in the past year.

The Loss of Opportunity, Hope for the Future

In a news release, Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said, “We are increasingly concerned that regular or daily use of marijuana is robbing too many young people of their potential to achieve and excel in school or other aspects of life. THC, a key ingredient in marijuana, alters the connectivity of the hippocampus, a brain area related to learning and memory. In addition, we know from recent research that marijuana use that begins during adolescence can lower IQ and contribute to reduced cognitive abilities during adulthood.”

Too often, parents view marijuana as a harmless drug, but more and more research is coming out in support of the idea that marijuana is indeed a harmful choice to make. Teens who begin using the drug are less likely to go to college and more likely to drop out before getting their degree if they do go. Earlier drug and alcohol use is connected to higher rates of long-term drug and alcohol abuse and addiction issues in adulthood. The loss of mental wellness, job satisfaction, and positive familial relationships is rampant with continued marijuana abuse. It’s simply not a risk worth taking.

Helping Your Son Make Positive Choices

If your son is struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction, don’t wait to get them the help they need to turn their lives in a more positive direction. Contact us at Muir Wood today.