Marijuana Use Among Teens
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, and teen marijuana use is increasing faster than other drugs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found that 30.5% of high school seniors in the United States reported using marijuana in 2021. Further, the amount of marijuana use among college students is at an all-time high.
As parents and educators, we know the impact that marijuana use in teens has on areas of their life like academics, sports, co-curricular activities, judgment, determination, and personal development.
Almost half (45%) of American high school students think marijuana is “very easy” to get, while another 23% say it’s “fairly easy,” according to the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey. This perception can make it seem like it’s “not a big deal” to teens to use marijuana.
Marijuana’s impact on teens.
Although it’s illegal, most teens don’t think marijuana is harmful. Additionally, most teens don’t realize that marijuana can be addictive. Kids who start using marijuana often think they can control their use, but marijuana is an addictive substance and it’s possible for teens to become dependent on it if they use it frequently over a long period of time.
Marijuana can have serious consequences for the body and the brain, including long-term effects such as memory loss and poor concentration that last beyond the teen years. Using marijuana regularly can also reduce productivity. People who smoke pot every day tend to earn lower incomes than those who do not use at all and also spend more time unemployed or incarcerated than those who abstain from cannabis use entirely. Daily users were also found to be three times more likely than nonusers—or infrequent users—to drop out of school.
The earlier kids start using it, the more likely they are to develop a problem with it later in life.
The earlier kids start using marijuana, the more likely they are to develop a problem with it later in life. Kids who start smoking weed at age 14 or younger are five times as likely to develop a marijuana use disorder (MUD) than those who do not start using until they are 18 or older. The risk of developing MUDs increases steadily with each year of use before reaching its highest point by age 16, when teens are more likely to smoke daily.
Marijuana use can have a negative impact on teens’ health and wellbeing. It’s important for parents and educators to talk about the risks of marijuana with their students and help them understand why it’s not safe for them to use. Drug Free Clubs of America can help you start this conversation and give you and your teen resources to prevent marijuana use.
Drug Free Clubs of America is on a mission to reduce the impacts of drug use in youth. Across the nation, drug and alcohol use is on the rise among teens. We provide students with practical tools and techniques to navigate peer pressure and choose a healthy lifestyle. Partnering with schools and communities, we offer preventative programming to meet students where they are. Through randomized drug testing, educational resources, a positive outlet, and a supportive community, we are changing school cultures and reducing alcohol, marijuana, vaping, and other detrimental activities among our members and the entire school body. Drug Free Clubs of America has over 5,000 student and faculty/staff members and Clubs in over 50 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.