Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug used by teens today. The use of marijuana by teens can affect school, sports, and other activities; marijuana also affects memory, judgment, and perception. Teens who smoke marijuana on a regular basis start to lose interest in their appearance and how they are doing in school, at work, and at home.
There are many reasons why some teens start smoking marijuana. Many kids start using because their older siblings or friends are consuming it in front of them. Often peer pressure plays a major role. Teens think it’s cool to use marijuana; they see their favorite movie stars smoking it in movies and their favorite bands sing songs about it. The problem becomes more severe when teens start relying on marijuana and think that they need it to escape from problems at school, home life, or with friends.
Researchers have found that heavy marijuana use impairs teenagers’ ability to retain information and concentrate. Regular marijuana use has been shown to be associated with poor academic performance. This is of a huge concern during teens’ peak learning years, as their brains are still developing. There is an association between an increase in marijuana use and a decrease in the likelihood of attaining at least a high school education. Students who smoke marijuana are more than twice as likely to cut class that those who don’t smoke.
According to the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), among teens who had smoked marijuana for twelve or more days in the previous years, 58 percent had one problem to relate to the marijuana addiction, 41 percent had two problems to relate to their addiction and 28 percent had minimum of 3 problems to relate to their marijuana usage. From the age of 12 to the age of 13 the fraction of teenagers who accept that they could purchase marijuana if they desired to becomes more than triple from 14 percent to a whopping 50 percent. Also there is an increase in percentage from 8 to 22 for students who say that they know someone in school (student) who sells drugs.
Also according to the NHSDA survey, in the years 1991 and 2001 the fraction of eight graders who smoked marijuana increased to one in five from one in ten. This indicates how earlier kids are beginning to use marijuana. Research reveals that earlier a teen starts to use marijuana, more are the chances for him/her to become marijuana or drug dependent in later years.
Each year, over 100,000 teens are treated for marijuana dependence. Of teens admitted for treatment for marijuana dependence, 56 percent had first used the drug by fourteen years of age, and 26 percent had begun by twelve years of age (Kids and Marijuana). Every year more teens enter treatment with the diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined. Sixty percent of teens admitted for drug treatment say marijuana is their primary drug of choice.