Posts Tagged teen marijuana use

CDC Releases Data on Teenage Drug Use: Less Smoking, More Marijuana

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a statement saying that 30 percent of teenagers – regardless of ethnicity — engage in smoking cigarettes or marijuana. This was based on data comparing teenage smoking figures between 1997 and 2013.

teen smokingIn specific substances, the rate of smoking tobacco cigarettes in teenagers decreased from 20.5 percent to a little over 7 percent. While this may sound like good news, the figures for teen marijuana use isn’t pleasant. From only 4 percent of teenagers engaged in marijuana use in 1997, it has since shot up to 10 percent by 2013. In addition, the rate of teenagers smoking both cigarettes and marijuana has increased from 51 percent to 62 percent.

CDC Office on Smoking and Health director Dr. Tim McAfee emphasized the misinformation on marijuana as one of the probable causes behind this alarming figure. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been a change in public perception of marijuana… There is the idea that marijuana is not something you need to worry about,” McAfee said in a news article.

Despite the increase in marijuana use, there is still reason to celebrate, particularly in terms of curbing cigarette use by teenagers. “This study reminds us that we know exactly what to do to further reduce smoking: increase tobacco taxes, enact smoke-free laws, fund effective prevention programs and implement hard-hitting mass media campaigns. These proven strategies must be continued and strengthened,” said Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids VP for communications Vince Willmore.

Details of the study were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by CDC.

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Teen Marijuana Use Has No Effect On Adult Health

This may sound like good news to the younger generation of marijuana users: A recent study discovered that there is no link between teen marijuana use and the overall health of a person later in life.

teen marijuana useThe study, conducted by a research team from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, ran for more than 2 decades to monitor the health of more than 400 teenagers in relation to their use of marijuana. The respondents were divided into four groups distinguished by their level of marijuana use, as reported in a news item. Roughly 46 percent were low to none users, 22 percent were chronic marijuana users in their early years, 11 percent smoked only during their teen years, and 21 percent smoked continuously since adolescence.

Results of the study showed that the four groups did not exhibit any significant difference in physical and mental well-being when they reached their mid-30s. Other factors such as ethnicity or race also did not affect the results. Researchers were surprised with the results, considering that many previous studies point to the harmful effects of chronic use of cannabis.

However, the researchers were quick to point out some limitations that may have affected the results. First, the evaluation was conducted on men only, and so another set of investigations should be conducted on women as well. The assessment period may be too short to conclude that the effects of marijuana use are not significant. The evaluation of health conditions of the respondents were based on interviews, which could have resulted to a failure in determining any real health hazards.

The study was recently published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

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Teen Trends: More Marijuana Use, Less Alcohol Consumption

Here’s a bit of good and bad news: today’s teenagers use alcohol and cigarettes less, but are found to use marijuana increasingly.

teen alcohol use drinkingThis is according to a study conducted by Penn State’s The Methodology Center. Although the recent findings point to a successful campaign against tobacco, this may have caused the interest of adolescents to shift towards marijuana. “Our analysis shows that public health campaigns are working — fewer teens are smoking cigarettes… However, we were surprised to find the very clear message that kids are choosing marijuana over cigarettes,” said study co-author Stephanie Lanza in a news release.

The study looked into data from the project entitled Monitoring the Future, where close to 600,000 high school seniors from 1976 to 2013 were asked to participate in a survey. The questions were targeted towards checking the students’ use of three substances: alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.

Results showed a significant decrease in use of cigarettes, most notably in white adolescents. Marijuana, on the other hand, was used more as years went by, especially in black teenagers. Meanwhile, alcohol consumption by teenagers has steadily dipped over the years, with white teens drinking more than their black counterparts. A correlation was also noticed between marijuana and cigarette use, citing that those who smoked cigarettes were more likely to use marijuana than teenagers who did not use tobacco products.

Details of the study were published July 20 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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Medical Marijuana Legalization Decreased Usage By Teenagers

As more states welcome medical marijuana use, a recent study discovers that this rise in accepting cannabis for medical treatment does not lead to more teens getting high.

teen skating marijuanaA group of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York investigated more than 1 million records of teenagers spanning 24 years worth of data from a nationwide study to determine a potential link between legalization of medical marijuana in U.S. states and teenage marijuana use. “Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalises medical marijuana,” said study lead author Dr. Deborah Hasin via a news release. Surprisingly, states that did not legalize medical marijuana were found to have higher rates of teen marijuana use. “Rather, up to now, in the states that passed medical marijuana laws, adolescent marijuana use was already higher than in other states,” Hasin added.

Dr. Kevin Hill from Massachusetts’ McLean Hospital alcohol and drug abuse division wrote a commentary accompanying the study, which was published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. “The growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase adolescent use, and future decisions that states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be at least partly guided by this evidence,” Hill said.

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Colorado Teen With Cerebral Palsy Denied Medical Marijuana Use In School

Although the state of Colorado allows medical marijuana distribution to patients with prescriptions, a recent incident highlights some restrictions to the bill.

cannabis oilOfficials at Everitt Middle School confiscated medical marijuana from a teenager diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fourteen-year-old student Jack Linn was allowed prescription of medical marijuana (in the form of cannabis oil) for his condition, but bringing it in school premises is not allowed by the school officials.

The school’s administration staff based its decision on federal law, which prohibits marijuana to be brought to schools and educational institutions. The confiscation occurred when Linn was found being treated with marijuana oil by his personal nurse on school grounds.

Stacey Linn, the teen’s mother, was furious with the incident, but blames the incorrect policy rather than the school implementing such federal restriction. “It’s outrageous. I’m not going to blame the school because they’re following a policy. I blame the policy. It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him. Medicine that saves his life,” Linn’s mother said in a news release.

The principal of Everitt Middle School said they will abide with federal law to avoid risk of losing financial support from the federal government.

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Students Likely To Drop Out of School Due To Marijuana Use

If you are not yet startled by marijuana abuse by kids, this bit of news might shake your mindset and apathy.

legalize_marijuana_mainJust a few weeks after research by New York University revealed the effect of alcohol and marijuana on high school seniors, a recent study showed that teenagers have a 60 percent likelihood to drop out of school when they use marijuana on a daily basis. According to the University of South Wales National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia, the results of their study could be used as a framework to reconsider legalizing marijuana.

The study based its findings on three earlier researches covering about 3,700 individuals, and looked into the behaviors and academic achievements of the respondents in cross reference to their drug use until they reached 30 years of age.

Study lead author Dr. Edmund Silins emphasized the importance of their study to government decisions in marijuana legalization measures. “The findings are timely given movement in some states in the US and Latin America to decriminalise marijuana, and there is also a movement here in Australia to decriminalise and legalise the drug for medicinal use,” said Dr. Silins in a news release. “Because our study has shown the potential harms of adolescent use, particularly heavy use, policy makers must be aware of this and reform efforts should be carefully considered to protect against this.”

Aside from the scholastic effect of marijuana on teens, the illicit drug was also linked to higher tendency to commit suicide and try other illegal substances.

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