Teens are smoking more pot and science proves it’s a good thing

By Oscar Pascual |
photo credit: Flickr/Weegeebored

More teens are using marijuana while alcohol and cigarette use is going down, according to results from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey.

The study surveying the teen use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs shows that illicit drug use among teens has maintained a steady level over the past four years, while tobacco use and binge drinking have continued to decline over the past decade.

Unfortunately NIDA’s definition of “illicit drugs” also includes marijuana alongside ecstasy, cocaine, and LSD. But when illicit drugs stats are broken down, marijuana is still the most used drug by teens among what’s considered illicit. 35 percent of high school seniors report using pot, while the percentage for ecstasy, coke, and acid fall sharply down to percentages of 3.6, 2.6, and 2.5, respectively.

While that sounds like a bad thing, it actually means that teens are taking the safer alternative of marijuana instead of hard drugs and legal killers alcohol and tobacco.

Alcohol can have devastating effects on anyone’s health, especially teens. A study conducted by researchers at UC San Diego found that teens who drink are more apt to brain damage, while teen pot users are not. That’s because alcohol’s main ingredient ethanol is a known neurotoxin, while cannabis has proven neuroprotective ingredients like cannabidiol.

If that weren’t enough, studies have also found that alcohol use is strongly associated with IQ decline in teens, and that cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition.

As for tobacco, we all know smoking leads to all sorts of lung problems, whereas marijuana can actually increase airflow to the lungs by acting as a bronchodilator.

NIDA’s research also shows that 64 percent of seniors don’t view regular marijuana use as harmful, meaning that they are making informed decisions on what to put in their bodies.

In other words, the kids are alright.