Each year the government produces a report on the estimated number of people who use tobacco, alcohol and drugs which includes marijuana. While percentage of alcohol usage has flattened the study found that “Among the 30.5 million people aged 12 or older who were current illicit drug users, 26.0 million were current marijuana users” in that group 42% use almost daily. The study noted;
The percentage of people aged 12 or older who were current marijuana users in 2017 was higher than the percentages in 2002 to 2016. The upsurge in marijuana use reflects increases among young adults aged 18 to 25 (now at 22%) and adults aged 26 or older. Marijuana use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 was lower in 2017 but it was similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2016.
In 2017, the substances with the largest number of recent (i.e., past year) initiates of use were alcohol (4.9 million new users), marijuana (3.0 million new users) which means there are 8,300 new pot smokers every day. Colorado, Oregon and Washington DC (3 places where marijuana is commercially available) lead the nation in marijuana users ages 12 – 17 and 18 – 26.
We hear often from parents that their teens think “weed” is safe. Marijuana is not a harmless plant (tobacco and poppies are plants too). And the marijuana available today is typically four times stronger than “Woodstock weed” of the 1960’s. Our brains are not fully developed until about age 25 and the last part to mature is responsible for important decision-making, including how we respond to gratification. Also, this part of the brain is most affected by substance use. A new study showed that marijuana can stay in the brain affecting decision making for up to 3 days. There is also some significant new research that shows that if your family has a history of mental illness, marijuana may hasten some forms of mental health issues like depression and Schizophrenia. Most notably, weed is a mood-altering substance that can lead to addiction.
Our goal with Gobi is not to fight teens over their perception and “internet” studies. Our program offers teens the chance to rethink their approach and question who their friends are, who they look up to and how can they be successful if they drink or smoke pot every day.