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Marijuana and Teenagers: What Every Parent Should Know

Marijuana and Teenagers: What Every Parent Should Know

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/25/2011 in Medical Marijuana

Last year, the Office of National Drug Control Policy survey found that pot use among teens is growing. Daily pot use among high school seniors hit 6.1%, the highest point since the early 1980s. And in the month prior to the survey, 21.4% of 12th graders said they had used marijuana.

It sounds scary to some parents, but we have some good news about marijuana that we think every parent should know. And it’s important to note that we are not endorsing marijuana use by teenagers. The point we are making here is that parents usually only hear about the dangers of marijuana, and very rarely get to hear the good side about marijuana when it comes to their teens. So here goes:

Marijuana is Not a Gateway Drug

Marijuana is often referred to as a “gateway drug” that will get teens hooked on a number of other illicit substances. But research proves that this is just not true. Several studies have all determined that marijuana use is not linked to the use of more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.  The most recent study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in 2011. After following 1,286 young adults for 12 years, the study determined that whether a person is unemployed or experiencing severe stress is far more predictive of future hard drug use than whether they toked up as a teenager.

Marijuana is Considered to Be Non-Addictive

For parents who worry that their teens will have one puff of the green goodness and be hooked for life, let us assure you that you can rest easy tonight. According to a federal Institute of Medicine study in 1999, fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32 percent of tobacco users do. And many researchers, scientists and doctors say hands down that marijuana is not addictive. In fact, studies show that marijuana is used to help cure addictions to other drugs, including prescription drugs.

Marijuana Has Never Resulted in a Death

According to, “an exhaustive search of the literature finds no deaths induced by marijuana. The US Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) records instances of drug mentions in medical examiners’ reports, and though marijuana is mentioned, it is usually in combination with alcohol or other drugs.” There has never been a death attributed to marijuana overdose. On the other hand, alcohol use by college students contributes to approximately 1700 students’ deaths each year, including a number of overdose deaths.

Pot is Safer Than Alcohol and Cigarettes

When it comes to disease, deaths and addictions, statistics prove that alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than cannabis. Unlike these two legal drugs, marijuana is far less toxic, does not lead to serious disease or death, it is not addictive and has no impact on lung function. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that cannabis was safer than alcohol or tobacco, but in 1998 the BBC reported that WHO suppressed this information “in fear it would give ammunition to the legalize marijuana campaign.” On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is associated with multiple adverse health consequences, including liver cirrhosis, various cancers, unintentional injuries, and violence. And according to the CDC, the adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.

Medical Marijuana Laws Have No Effect on Teen Use

Many parents have expressed concerns that medical marijuana laws are making it easier for their teenaged children to access the illicit substance. However, a recent study found that medical marijuana actually does not encourage teens to smoke more pot. The study, which was presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting this year in Washington, D.C., determined that marijuana laws have zero effect on teen use in states that have passed marijuana laws as well as in nearby states.

Disclaimer: These opinions and statements made in these posts are solely the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of and its parent company. 

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