Daily marijuana use and marijuana vaping has significantly increased in the last year according to new data from the largest, most comprehensive drug use survey of students in the United States. The 2019 Monitoring the Future survey, compiled by researchers at the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institutes of Health, is the benchmark for student drug use in the country.
According to the survey, marijuana vaping among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders has more than doubled since 2017 and daily marijuana use among 8th and 10th graders has seen a significant increase since 2018. More than one fifth of 12th and 10th graders reported using marijuana in the past year and the doubling of past month use in high school seniors constitutes the second largest one-year increase in drug use recorded by the Monitoring the Future survey.
While marijuana use rates remain stubbornly high, use rates of other drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes have experienced consistent declines.
“This survey is an astonishing reflection of the failure of marijuana normalization and commercialization to keep our kids safe,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former three-time White House Drug Policy Advisor. “These are some of the largest increases ever recorded, and it is clear marijuana promotion driven by today’s for profit pot industry is to blame.”
Today’s marijuana is especially harmful to adolescents and is known to have a whole host of damaging effects on developing brains. Adolescent marijuana use severely impacts the ability of our youth to learn, greatly increases the risk of serious mental illness, impairs memory, and can even result in a loss of up to eight IQ points.
What’s more, an epidemic of a potentially fatal lung illness known as EVALI is overwhelmingly being caused by marijuana vaping products, including ones purchased from “legal” sources. Despite this, fewer young people perceive harm from using marijuana.
“We are no longer looking at the weak weed of Woodstock. Today’s super strength pot is highly addictive and the latest Big Pot innovation – marijuana vaping products – are causing fatal harm,” continued Dr. Sabet. “We call on lawmakers, the media, and the general public to heed the science and put the wellbeing of our young people first by rejecting the promotion and expansion of marijuana commercialization.”