A new survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that marijuana use among young people is on the rise.
The NIH 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey measures drug use and opinions among eighth, 10th and 12th graders in the U.S. This year, the major finding shows that the number of high schoolers who think marijuana is dangerous has continued to drop over the past decade. The data shows that teens are using it more often than they have in the past. And according to the researchers, such lax attitudes about pot will likely continue to lead to increased use.
This year's survey polled 41,675 students from 389 public and private schools, and found only 39.5% of 12th graders thought marijuana was harmful, which is down from 44.1% last year. Usage among high school seniors has increased as well. This year, 6.5% of seniors reported smoking pot daily, a slight increase from the 6% who reported the habit in 2003 and the 2.4% in 1993. While the increases were relatively small, greater usage is concerning since levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, have gone up from 3.75% in 1995 to an average of 15% in current marijuana cigarettes. For a developing brain, exposure to such doses has been linked to changes in the brain and memory loss.
Don't expect to be hearing a lot about this this story from the people who tell us so relentlessly that our views about pot should be grounded in science rather than moralizing.