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Teenagers And Marijuana

During the past 5 years have teenagers been using more marijuana? Well, the statistics show that they are. In fact, since 1992, the use of marijuana has doubled. Why are teenagers using marijuana and what are the effects? This question will be answered to the fullest with test results, recent statistics, and personal experiences.

Many people believe that kids start to use marijuana because their parents did it back in the 70’s. They want to see what it’s like so they try it once. That one time leads to another, and then another. Eventually they’re addicted and may use it every day. Peer pressure is another factor. If you just hanging around with your friends and a couple of them are smoking marijuana, you might think that you’re a pansy if you don’t smoke it with them. So if you just smoke it once, may be they’ll still think your ‘cool’, and once again one time leads to another.
Marijuana can easily be researched on the Internet. You can find out how to grow it in your own back yard, how to sell it at the right price, how to hide it from authority figures, and how to make a joint out if it.

Movies and songs can also be a major factor. Many current songs are directly related to marijuana. A popular rap CD has a picture of a marijuana leaf on the entire cover and labeled “Da Chronic”, a slang tern that means “the marijuana”. In movies, marijuana is talked about frequently also. Some movies like “Half Baked” focus on marijuana and teenagers being high all the time.

In school is another factor of the increase of marijuana. When a number of teachers from various school were asked if the drug problem in their school is getting better or worst, 41% said that it’s getting worst. However only 15% of principle say that it’s getting better. In 1996, 10.9% of junior high students admit to smoking marijuana and 11.4% in 1997. That increase doesn’t seem that much, be officials say that it’s a huge increase considering that is it within 1 year.

The increase of marijuana doesn’t completely focus on teenagers. A 13-year-old is 3 times more likely to smoke marijuana than a 12-year-old is. It is discouraging to think that there is even a statistic for kids using drugs at such a young age. But surprisingly, the statistics go even younger than that. For children between the age of 6 and 9, the use of marijuana has doubled.

The number’s also show that the older you get, the more likely you are to using marijuana. In 1995 a survey asked a number of high school students from all around the country and this is what they found. 19.9% of 8th graders admit to marijuana use, 34.1% of 10th graders, and 41.7% of 12 graders. Which means that 1 out of 4 8th graders admit to using marijuana. That doesn’t even include the students that don’t admit it. 1 out of 3 10th graders admit to marijuana use, and more that 2 out of 5 12th graders. The numbers are amazing when you realize how many kids are smoking marijuana these days. It makes you wonder how the future of the nation.

It is so easy for kids to get hooked on marijuana in today’s society. 85% of adolescents say the drugs are the most important problem teenagers face. From personal experience at a recent concert, I was asked numerous time to smoke marijuana from people that I did not know and I’m sure that it has happened to most teenagers at a concert or any other gathering of some sort. All you have to do is to try it once and it is very difficult to say ‘No’ after that.

It is very easy to separate the people that smoke marijuana from the people that don’t smoke marijuana. Most kids who now depend on marijuana to live say that they wish they never started. Just about all of them, 97%, say that they still used pot even after they realized it became a problem. This just shows how hard it is to stop smoking marijuana the more you use it. 85% of the kids say that pot interfered with driving, school, work, and home. Kids often skip school to get high with their friends who are also depended on marijuana. It is that much harder to stop smoking marijuana because probably your friends smoke marijuana just as much as you do so you might think that they think you aren’t cool because you want to quit. 66% of the kids say that they had given up important activities to use marijuana. These activities might include school, homework, work, family actives, after school clubs, school sports, or hanging out with their friends who don’t smoke marijuana. 53% said that they felt they were losing control of their life because they used marijuana in heavy amounts for long periods of time. For example, teenagers would stay out late and smoke marijuana all night, then come home in the middle of the night (or stay over someone’s house) and sleep all day, then go out the next night and do the same thing. If they went to school the next day they would not be able to participate of learn to the fullest because they would be recuperating. 35% of the kids said they were so dependent on marijuana that they wanted to cut back on marijuana use, but were unable to. This statistic clearly shows how marijuana is so addictive because the kids tried to cut back just a little bit and were still unable to.

Another test shows that non-marijuana smokers have a better chance to succeed in life as compared to with marijuana smokers. Kids who don’t smoke were found to be able to cope with their problems better than marijuana smokes. For example, maybe a non-marijuana smoker failed an important test in high school. That student might go to the teacher to maybe bring his or her grade up or study more for the next test. But the marijuana smoker might get depressed, go out that night and smoke pot. The next morning that person would have to recover and miss school the next day, then soon enough end up in a very deep hole. Likewise, the test shows that kids who don’t smoke pot tend to have lower stress, better self-control, less lying, and better relationships with their parents as opposed to kids who do smoke pot. I believe that this statistic is very beneficial to the addictive part of marijuana. For example, if a kid who doesn’t smoke pot stays out late over a friends house, when his or her parents asks them where they where and that person didn’t lie, the consequences might be very little and everything would be fine. But if that person were out smoking marijuana, her or she would not be thinking straight the next morning and make some crazy lie to try and hide the fact that they were smoking pot. Their parents would probably find out that they were lying and the consequences would be more because they lied, smoked pot, and stayed out late. Then the child would get mad and smoke pot more because it made him forget about everything.

However, all the talk about how marijuana is bad for you, many of them a simply myths. Through many of test on humans and lab rats, there has never been a death through an overdose of marijuana. When tested on mice, there was found to have a ratio of 40,000:1. This can be compared to between 4:1 and 10:1 for an alcohol overdose. Alcohol overdosed kill about 5,000 people annually, but not a single person for marijuana.

Also, the though that marijuana kills brain cells is also completely false. Cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana that make you high, are psychoactive because they only stimulate certain brain receptors. Other think differently because this test has only been performed on four monkeys. Research by Dr. Robert Health claim that money brains cannot be compared to human brains because the brain work slightly different and is considerably smaller. A different experiment performed by the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) exposed 64 rhesus monkeys to weekly doses of marijuana smoke for an entire year. The results showed that it did not effect the structure of the brain at all and later back up their results when test were performed on humans. Selected people from various cultural backgrounds, races, and sexes smoked as many as 18 joints a day for many of years. After the results were announced, the American Medical Association officially announced that they would support the legalization of marijuana.

With many tests to back up the fact that marijuana in no way causes brain damage, where do the rumors come from. This rumor is mainly blamed on the Partnership for a Drug-America commercial in1987. They claim that marijuana “flattens” brain waves by showing the normal brain waves of a person and then showing the alleged brain waves of a 14-year old on marijuana. The waves from the 14-year-old are said to be much flatter than the normal person. Later it was discovered that the brain waves from the marijuana user was really the brain waves from a coma patient. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America shortly pulled the commercial off the air.

Many thoughts of memory loss by marijuana smokers have also been proven loss. However, it has been proven that shorts term memory loss while intoxicated. There has been no proof to testify the fact that marijuana impairs a persons memory while not high.

Also, marijuana is said to have no long tern effects on the heart of a normal person. There have been only changes on people with heart problems prior to marijuana use. There have been effects on blood pressure, but they have been very inconsistent.

Once again, there has been no proof to show that there are effects on hormones and reproductive organs. There are exemptions to both hormones and reproductive damage. In 1974, Dr. R.C. Kolodomy performed a test to see if marijuana effected testosterone or any other sex hormone levels. The test showed that it did, but since then 7 similar tests have been performed and none have come up with the same results is Dr. Kolodomy. In 1988, a connection between marijuana and low sperm counts in males. But, this is pretty misleading because the sperm count had returned to normal after marijuana use had stopped and the decrease in sperm has not shown any effect on fertility.

With all the proof that marijuana does not do near as much damage to you as many people think, you must keep in mind that marijuana can lead to much more dangerous drugs. In fact, the younger a child starts smoking marijuana, the more chance he has to going on to other drugs like cocaine. 60% of kids who use marijuana before they turn 15, go one to use cocaine. Kids who smoke pot are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than kids you don’t smoke pot. Many teens drink large consumption’s of alcohol while smoking marijuana with impairs their judgement ever more.

What can we do to prevent teenagers from smoking marijuana? The drug problem in America costs the business world over $100 billion each year. Family talk are probably the most effective. Research shows that kids who are explained the dangers of drugs have three times more of a chance to never use drug.

Russ Ebersole, the founder of Detector Dogs Against Drugs and Explosives (DDADE), thought that he could make a living finding out if people are using drugs. For a charge from $250 to $1000, he has dogs that sweep though factories, school, homes or offices that will find anything from marijuana pipes, to needles of heroin. “We’ll let you know if your kid is hanging out with the wrong crowd,” Ebersole says. Now there are at least six other private companies using dogs to find traces of drugs. One of them located in Houston annually checks over 350 schools in Texas, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, and California. Last year the company did 10,000 searches and found over 1,700 items of illegal drugs.

All of the founders of the companies believe that eventually every American city will have its own drug investigations and that it will reduce drugs to a minimum because the kids will learn that if they are doing drugs, the dog will know.

In addition to private corporations trying to control the drug problem, president Clinton is also trying to help. He has made drug prevention and education for youth’s the first priority of its National Drug Control Strategy for the past 2 years. The Office of National Drug Control Police (ONDCP) has received $195 million for an anti-drug advertising campaign for adolescents.

In conclusion, I think that drugs and the increase of teens using marijuana is a major problem and there is no easy solution. More and more kids are using drugs than before. Also, the strength of marijuana is much stronger than it used to be, 15 – 20 times stronger than from the 70’s. However you may say that there are no real dangerous long-term effects from smoking marijuana. But when you start smoking marijuana, it triggers a series of events that part you away from your family, schoolwork, and possibly after school activities. Before I did this report, I have considered smoking marijuana once or twice. But now I realize that there is too much at risk and think anyone who does is very foolish.

Works Cited
“Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana Use”. The Drug Education Project. http://www.ukcia.cia.org/lib/recearch/mjfaq.htm.
Bruner, Ann B,. Marc Fishman, “Adolescents and Illicit Drug Use”. The Journal of the American Medical Association. August 19, 1998. http://web2.searchbank.com/infotrac/sessions/873/8/27278801w3/5!xrn_1
Frieden, Terry. “Junior High Kids Doing More Drugs”. The Associated Press. October 28, 1997. http://cnn.com/US/9710/jr.high.drugs/index.html
Graff, James L., Elaine Rivera, Ann M. Simmons, James Willwerth. “Kids and Pot”. Time Magazine. December 9, 1996.

Harrison, Patricia. “Marijuana Use Main Factor In Great Number of Teen Seeking Treatment”. Minnesota Department of Human Services. 1996. http://www.mnnewspapernet.org/n_current/digest/text/MarijuanaUse.html
Koerner, I. Brendan. “Mom, A Dog Is Here Sniffing, Um, Oregano”. Science and Ideas. 1998
Marwich, Charles. “Administration Attacks Increasing Use Of Marijuana”. Medical News & Perspectives. August 23, 1995. http://web2.searchbank.com/infotrac/sessions/873/8/27278801w3/15!xrn_6
“Survey Says 13 Is Importand Age In Stemming Teen Drug Use.” The Associated Press. September 1, 1998. http://cnn.com/HEALTH/9809/01/teen.drug.use/index.html
“Troubled Teens Rick Rapid Dependence on Marijuana.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. March 31, 1998.

Wills, Thomas Asby, Grace McNamara, Donato Vaccaro, A. Elizabeth Kirky. “Teens Who Do Not Experiment With Tobacco, Alcohol or Marijuana Found to be Better Adjusted.” Yeshive University. http://www.apa.org/releases/drugs.html