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Most Drug Use Down – Except Marijuana – Among American High School Students
 
California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. But that did not happen spontaneously. Major investors began pouring money into organizations working to legalize marijuana in the early 1990s, just as marijuana use among high-school students reached its lowest levels since the Monitoring the Future survey began in 1975.
 
In 1991, 3% of eighth-grade students, 9% of tenth-grade students, and 14% of twelfth-grade students used marijuana in the past month. Today, eighth-grade use has doubled (7%), and tenth- and twelfth-grade use (15% and 21%, respectively) has nearly doubled. What made that happen?
 
Legalization proponents have hammered home the idea that marijuana is A) medicine and B) harmless. As increasingly more states have passed legislation based on these ideas, young people have gotten the message. Some 79% of high-school seniors believed smoking marijuana regularly was harmful in 1991. Today, only 32% do, the fewest since the survey began. Similar declines in belief in harm have occurred among younger students as well.
 
The 23 states that legalized marijuana as medicine gave birth to a commercial marijuana industry which creates and promotes products, including marijuana-infused foods, that appeal to teenagers. “Nugtella,” pictured above, is just one example. Others include marijuana-infused, multi-flavored “soft” drinks, gummi bears, and lollipops.
 
Says Stu Gitlow, MD, immediate past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and science advisory board member of SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana, in a press release about the survey SAM issued this morning, “Medical research is very clear that marijuana is both addictive and harmful. One in six adolescents that use marijuana develop an addiction, and use is associated with lower IQ, lower grades, and high dropout rates in that same population.”  
 
Which makes all the more disturbing another finding from the survey: 1 in 16 high school seniors uses marijuana daily. At 6%, seniors’ daily marijuana use is now higher than their daily cigarette use (5.5%) and daily alcohol use (2%).

Read Monitoring the Future Survey here. Read SAM press release here.
 
WHO Issues Update on
Cannabis and Its Medical Use
 
The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence of the World Health Organization commissioned one of its members, Dr. Bertha K. Madras, professor of psychobiology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, to write an update on what is known about marijuana and its use in medicine.
 
Anyone considering legislation that will legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use should read this paper. It presents a thorough overview of current knowledge -- and lack of knowledge -- about the effects of the drug, both harmful and potentially beneficial. It also presents a framework into which future research findings can be integrated. Contents include:
  • Preface
  • Terminology
  • The focus on cannabis
  • Section 1. The cannabis plant and history of medical use
  • Section 2. Cannabis chemistry, preparations
  • Section 3. Cannabinoid biology, signaling in brain and peripheral tissues
  • Section 4. Cannabis toxicity in humans
  • Section 5. Dependence, abuse, and cannabis disorder
  • Section 6. The use of cannabis for medical purposes
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References
Read the update here. (Scroll down to Section 6.2).
 

December is giving month. Please consider donating to National Families in Action to support The Marijuana Report. Donations may be made through Just Give by clicking here. Thanks for being such loyal readers and thanks for your support!
NOTE: There will be no issue of The Marijuana Report next week, December 23.
Publication will resume December 30, 2015.

 
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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