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1 in 9 high school seniors using synthetic marijuana
December 14th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

1 in 9 high school seniors using synthetic marijuana

Teenage drinking and cigarette smoking is at a historic low, but marijuana use and prescription drug abuse continue at high rates, according to a new report looking at trends among teens.

And there's a new substance raising concerns.

For the first time the study looked at the use of synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice or K2, by 12th graders. More than 11% admitted using it over the last year, information Gil Kerlikoeske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), calls shocking.

"One in nine 12th graders in America have used synthetic marijuana in the last year. Spice and K2 now rank as the second most frequently used illegal drug among high school seniors, second only to marijuana," Kerlikowske said. "Make no mistake. These drugs are dangerous and can cause serious harm. Poison control center data across America have shown as substantial rise in the number of calls from victims suffering serious consequences from these synthetic drugs."

ONDCP says poison control centers have fielded nearly 6,000 calls so far this year - already double last year's number.

According to Kerlikowske, up until a few months ago synthetic marijuana was being sold legally as an alternative to marijuana in convenience stores across the country. That's when the Drug Enforcement Administration banned the sale of the chemicals used to make it.

Now, he's calling on parents to talk to their kids about the serious consequences of marijuana, K2 and Spice use.

"We must be clear with our young people," says Kerlikowske. "Smoked marijuana is not an FDA approved medicine and the National Institute of Health has long documented the harms of marijuana use. Science shows it is addictive. Research shows it impairs driving. Studies show it can degrade academic performance."

Kerlikowske says ONDCP is working on a federal response to Spice/K2 that includes working with public health agencies to share data and coordinate a response. They are also working with Congress to get new laws passed that will ban these drugs.

The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has been tracking students from secondary school to young adults for nearly four decades, measuring their drug, alcohol and cigarette use. Each year the study chronicles the behaviors and attitudes of nearly 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders.

Researchers say the drop in alcohol and cigarette use has occurred gradually for a number of years.

"That cigarette use has continued to decline to historically low rates is welcome news given our concerns that decline may have slowed or stalled in recent years," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse who funded the study. "Tobacco and alcohol cause more disability and death in this country than any other drug , so we are heartened that efforts made by the public health community to educate teens and prevent drug abuse seem to be having an impact."

Fourteen years ago about 75% of 12th-graders admitted drinking alcohol. In 2011, 63.5% say they did. This year almost 27% of eighth-graders surveyed used alcohol compared to approximately 47% in 1994. Over the last 5 years, binge drinking - defined as having five or more drinks in a row over a two-week period - fell among all three grades.

Teen smoking fell in all three grades as well. A little more than 10% of 12th graders say they smoke daily - down significantly from 24.6% in 1997; while just 2.4% of 8th graders reported smoking every day.

"This is very good news for the health and longevity of these young people," states Lloyd Johnston, research scientist at the University of Michigan and the principal investigator of the study. "Even a reduction of only one percentage point can translate into thousands of premature deaths being prevented."

Teen smoking peaked in 1996-1997. Since then, the levels have dropped significantly - 71% for 8th graders, 61% in 10th graders and 49% in seniors. In fact, the number of students who have tried smoking at all fell dramatically.

Marijuana use, on the other hand, continues to rise at a steady pace, researchers found. More than 36% of seniors reported using the drug over the past year; almost 7% say they use it daily. Researchers say the rise in use is tied to the perception that the drug is not harmful.

The study also tracked prescription drug trends. Use of the painkiller Vicodin dropped among sophomores, and remained unchanged - but at levels considered high - among seniors.

Researchers say the fact that OxyContin use has remained steady for all three grades over the last five years is cause for concern. Another cause for alarm - amphetamine use is up among high school seniors. They saw no change in the use of Adderall and Ritalin, both ADHD medications, over the last year. But they did see a considerable drop in the number of 8th graders abusing over-the-counter cough medication.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. Volkow says the institute is launching an updated prescription drug section on their teen website in an effort to educate teenagers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

"Teens can go to our PEERx pages to find interactive videos and other tools that help them make healthy decisions and understand the risks of abusing prescription drugs."


soundoff (596 Responses)
  1. karenwhite

    I am a 35 years old CEO, ri;ch and strong but still sin;gle ... now Christmas is coming!!! You wanna find your lover to have this wonderful time together? I am see;king a good woman who can give me a real love, so I joined BillionaireFriends.COMit's the first and best club for wealthy people and their adm;irers. Well, you do not have to be rich ,but you can meet one there.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow

      Do you have to own your own buttplug in order to join ?

      December 14, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • lagtat

      You're a dirty wh*re is what you are.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • flossmore

      Wealthy people and their admirers?? Thanks for the arrogance !!

      December 14, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • ThereYaGo

      I don't like rich people. They're smug, arrogant and self-serving. Get bent.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      So Karenwhite, you need a woman who can give you real love? Well, I wish you all the luck in the world, Karen.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      off-topic post and flagged for abuse

      December 14, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • witerok

      when will this country wake up? it's perfectly ok to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol until you die of cancer and or ruin your life and the lives of everyone around you... how many people die from these two legal drugs every day, but it's alright because there's lots of money being made, do you think they care that these drugs are dangerous and can cause great harm? Smoking marijuana has been demonized for all the wrong reasons, you've heard all the bs before.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Good Lord Are You A Doosh

      Apparently you didn't make your 'Billions' in a field that required spelling and grammar. You're a piece of human feces is what you are...

      December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      You can use mine

      December 14, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Karen-
      Have you seen my large candy cane? You dirty dirty girl

      December 14, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • JLS639

      Eddie: Synthetic marijuana is not THC. They are related cannabinoids and are more potent. It is unclear if you can overdose on them or what their health effects may be.

      Citizan X: Prohibition reduced alcohol use a lot more than taxes and regulation ever have.

      james: Trust me, pot heads did not think of these drugs. These endocannabinoid analogs were developed as neuroscience research tools and possibly drugs in the future. I have met some of their developers and they are NOT happy with the chemists that went out and synthesized and sold them.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
  2. us1776

    This is horrible. All these synthetic drugs are 100 times worse than just using the natural marijuana plant.

    We need to end the stupid drug prohibition. It is causing many more problems and violence.

    .

    December 14, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      I agree. If only we'd stop electing morons who want it to continue.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      the topic of the article is teenage synthetic mrijuana

      kids should not be smoking pot - making it legal will not help the problem

      December 14, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      Dave, yes it will. Its easier for kids to get marijuana than alcohol this very second. Because its regulated and theres an age restriction. Come on....think! Any drug dealer on the corner isnt going to ask for ID. A store which would face heavy fines if caught will. Take the product away from the criminals.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Douglas

      Seems to be nothing but a holdover from the 60's stigma at this point. In actual fact, the only way to die from marijuana is if I stuff a bag of it in someone's throat and suffocate them, yet the pointless laws persist. Incidentally, I don't like it and have not used it in over 30 years, so there's no personal agenda behind my comments.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • citizen X

      Actually legalizing and taxing with strict regulations similar to that of alcohol and tobacco will indeed stem the tide of use. Right now with no regulation and a bacl market it drives the secrecy of use and the pervasive methods at which kids get it and use it. Understand that the first things kids say when someone says "no" is"ok so I must try this then" be smart. Prohibition never works.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      But you see, if MJ was legal, there wouldn't be a need to make the synthetic stuff. MJ is not dangerous – they couldn't even list anything worse than "impairing driving". Alcohol is dangerous, pot is not.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      Synthetic reefer? That would be THC. Evidently neither these kids nor the author of this article know what pot is. They could inhale gasoline and CNN would call it pot.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Amen. Legalize cannabis NOW. Reform our National Drug Laws and end mandatory minimum sentences!!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I'm sorry, but legalizing marijuana is not going to help anything.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Kevin, then you understand nothing about how damaging the stupid drug prohibition has been to our country.

      .

      December 14, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • thizz

      Ummm Eddie, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about either lol. synthetic reefer doesn't equal THC lol.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Brittany

      us1776, how do you propose regulating how high someone can be to drive? Is there a way to determine how high someone is?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Kevin: I disagree. Legalization would allow adults a much less addictive, less toxic (to individuals as well as to society) substance such as alcohol

      December 14, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      @Kevin: Your continued interjections do not help anything! Quit making statements on here just to aggravate the people who have true and deep beliefs on the subject. You are what is known as a TROLL!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • james

      Synthetic mariljuana, piperazines, and bath salts are a direct result of prohibition....and kids are dying from it.

      Analogs would never have been thought of if the others weren't so heavily regulated.

      People are dying all over the place from this crap. Now they're trying to regulate things that can't be regulated, are easier to make than what they are trying to replace, and they are 10 times more deadly.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
  3. us1776

    LEGALIZE and TAX NOW !!

    .

    December 14, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pumbaa

      Sure legalize the plant but don't tax it. Don't most people think the US government is already taxing the people plenty? I don't think the government will spend additional tax moneys on me but they will spend it on the next foreign war.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Pumbaa, not everyone is going to want to grow their own. It takes time, space and some skill to do that right. By tax we mean that there should be legal producers of marijuana and that the product they produce will be taxed in much the same way that alcohol is taxed.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Well, yeah, nobody buying it would directly want it taxed, but people who want it legalized say "legalize and tax" because it helps sell the idea to politicians who can make tax revenue from a "sin" product. So, please, legalize and tax now!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
  4. SB

    If we just legalize a natural plant that can help people we would not have to worry about the fake stuff that can and will kill people. I think the pharmy companies have to much at stake so they pay the politicians to keep it down!

    December 14, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kevin

      Oh and I'm sure you use it as a pain reliever and not just to get high right? Give me a break. And the only reason we had to deal with that synthetic stuff was because it was legal and pot isn't. Now that they're both illegal, I don't see as many people using the synthetic stuff.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      KEVIN- Its none of your business if someone is smoking it just to get high. I have a medical Marijauna card for back and neck problems, but guess what? I like to smoke it for the effect also. Its none of your's and anyone else's business if me and my husband smoke a joint on our couch at night. Mind your own business and learn something about Marijuana

      December 14, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  5. seandog

    MOTHER OF GOD! ITS REFER MADNESS!!!!!!

    December 14, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Josh

      "Listen to Jesus Jimmy!"

      December 14, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • ReeferMadness

      I'm high so I think I'll order a pizza and watch a movie! I'm ruining America!!! Ahh!!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      ordering that pizza and movie just contributed back to the economy and is stopping some company from laying off the poor sap that will be delivering that pizza to you so he can continue to feed his kids and spend his pay contributing to the economy....

      December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
  6. Icantbelieveit

    CNN- With this report, I'm am sure the amount of high school students using this "syntetic" drug, will double. Kids are going to start getting curious about this "new" drug. Great job!

    December 14, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bczu

      Its been around for years.....and the kids already knew. Its the uninformed adults who are finding out about it.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Couldn't agree more, bczu. The kids aren't waiting for us "hip adults" to give them new drug ideas. Your kids know more about today's drugs than you and the rest of your PTA members combined. And they're definitely getting that information through faster and more efficient channels than CNN.com. I think it's hilarious how many parents out there think they have this whole fact of teenage life under control when most of them are just now starting a Facebook page.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  7. AreYouKiddingMe

    I hate how CNN censors my comments even though they "follow terms of service."

    Nice censorship Nazis...

    December 14, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Maybe if you changed your name to "ImATeaBagger"...

      December 14, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  8. Larry Silverstein

    People can (and should) smoke/ingest whatever they want!!!! Oh yeah, it's called FREEDOM, and it doesn't come from our Government, it comes from our CREATOR. So if you self-righteous kooky people have a problem with a plant, take it up with the CREATOR. It is a shame people have to turn to synthetic compounds because there is a government-sponsored war against a plant! When it comes to the laws against the marijuana plant, I say "PULL IT!"

    December 14, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cedar Rapids

      Psst, if you want to talk about self-righteous and kooky, you shouldnt then talk about a creator and how that means they can smoke and ingest whatever they want.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • ThereYaGo

      It's all good Larry. You can talk about what the hell you want, despite the judging finger of a minority. Peace to you. 🙂

      December 14, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      That's right, Larry, because we all know that atheists are ignored by religious bigots, anyway.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • ThereYaGo

      Anita....personally, I don't think it's fair to Larry to let the actions of others be a testament to him, his thinking and his beliefs, but that's just me. And Larry, sorry to speak on your behalf. Peace. 🙂

      December 14, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Sure, the creator gave us the freedom to kill too, and a few others...so the government should have no laws to protect humans...leave it all in the hands of the creator? What have you been smoking man?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
  9. p a p a r a z z i n c

    Where can I buy this dope? Sounds way good..... Ignore the 'governemnt' warnings.... everything that feels good is illegal.
    .p a p a r a z z i n c . c o m

    December 14, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Guest

    The kids who are 20 years old today have parents who were 20 years old in the 70's and 80's. These parents all used drugs or knew people who used drugs when their parents told them not to. They need to be realistic about the fact that kids will use drugs until we stop making them so forbidden in America. Same with alchohol. Kids who grow up in Europe don't binge drink like kids in America. Why? Because they are drinking when they are small and it is therefore not a big deal. Wake up prudish America.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mobee

      And we all know people who died from drug from drug use or ruined their lives from it. What's your point? Greece, they drink as kids – look at Greece now. Italy they drink as kids – look at Italy. Hey let's start our kids smoking pot at young ages and not be so prude, then maybe we can be total losers like them!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      National Cancer Society did a study years ago that showed CBD fights and even destroys tumor cells. Also, if its consumed orally or through a vaporizer there's no carcinogens. So take your mindless babble somewhere else. And just because its legalized doesnt mean young kids will smoke it. Right this second its easier for a kid to get marijuana than alcohol.. Why? Because its regulated. Why dont you think before you type?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "Hey let's start our kids smoking pot at young ages and not be so prude, then maybe we can be total losers like them!"

      Yep cause smoking pot automatically makes you a loser. Considering i smoke everyday and make $100k/year....stereotypes need to cease.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      LOL Yeah cause we all know people who have died from WEED LOL!!!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      I like your answer. I lived in Germany for ahwile and notices all the teens drinking. Everyone was cool about it, not making a big deal.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Red Buttons

      Some of them are still using it 30 and 40 years later. Man, I'm sure it's going to screw up their lives one day! 😉

      December 14, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Mobee, you are such an...an...idiot I guess. I don't know what else to say about you!!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I'm missing your point, Mobee. What's wrong with Greece and Italy's kids? You seem to have failed to make one about either.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    THC is less addictive then Nicotine. SO the science they reference is pretty weak at best. In my graduate paper we had to look at THC and its effects in the body. All THC does is mimic a natural occuring compound in our body, and this prohibition is having the same effects on society as alcohol did in the 1920's and till its end in the 1930's. Criminal organizations ruled the cities. Luckily today it is in mexico but as humans we should look to solve the problem and make weed legal and stop making criminal out of normal citizens. I agree it needs to be regulated and probably illegal to drive while under the influence, but to do it on your own time and at social events will cause no added stress to society than alcohol has. We could also use the tax revenue.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • robwc

      one problem regarding driving. Since the drug is in the system for many days they would consider you under the influence if you smoked a week ago. If it's in your system you are under the influence.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Mobee

      "Stop making criminals out of normal citizens" NO. WRONG. THEY are making criminals out of themselves! Nobody is making them a criminal. Marijuana has been an illegal drug since BEFORE it became a popular drug. Everyone has known it is illegal. Your choice to use it MAKES YOU A CRIMINAL.

      Dopes – a term which arose to describe stupid behavior from the people who use dope, describes it prefectly. People on marijuana make bad decisions. Addiction has ruined many lives. Use of Marijuana has led many more to seek even harder "highs" like cocaine, heroine, et. al. Yet you morons continue to say it should be legal.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "since the drug is in the system for many days they would consider you under the influence if you smoked a week ago. If it's in your system you are under the influence."

      Or come up with a test like a cotton swab test that will only test whether the user has used the drug within a certain timeframe. But that is too hard so lets just keep it illegal.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      MOBEE You are an idiot. Marijane is not addictive. PEOPLE have addictive personalities. I have smoke mari off and on through the years and it has never made me want to do any other drugs. Those people are the ones that want to push the limit and get as high of whatever they can. Mari didn't make them do that. ALSO My husband is a DOCTOR and smoked the whole way thru school, didn't inhibit his mind at all. I have never made any bad decisions while on mari, but have dont things not so proud of while drunk! How bout all these kids getting addicted to Oxycontin and driking cough syrup to get high. Are those gateway drugs too? WHY DON'T YOU PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!!!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      mobeee....people make bad decisions on all sorts of things, or nothing at all. while you want to feel superior calling others morons, heroin has only i "e".

      December 14, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
  12. p a p a r a z z i n c

    The war on drugs is a failure. Period. The war today is nothing more than a police mens pension fund protection act. Thats it, thats all it is today, protecting a cops pension plan. Nothing more. Drug use has gone up EVERY single year. Never has drug use gone down. .–p a p a r a z z i n c . c o m. If you smoke pot please smoke it publicity and openly. STOP HIDING. If you take other drugs, please do it openly. Stop hiding it. P a p a r a z z i n c will announce a public display of drug use in the future. Everyone that does drugs will do so openly for the world to see. Please look for it on the website. Thanks.....

    December 14, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. p a p a r a z z i n c

    We must reform society. Out with the old in with the new. OPEN SOCIETY is the key. Please look for more info on our upcoming open drug use day in the future. Thanks... .p a p a r a z z i n c. c o m.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ThereYaGo

    Pot. Another testament to our government thinking they know what's best for everyone. If they're so damn smart, why is this country going down the tubes? I've known drinkers and smokers for over 30 years. Almost every one of the drinkers has a DWI under their belt. Smokers, not one instance of driving under the influence. By no means am I advocating smoking and driving. I'm merely trying to point out how bass ackwards our government can be.

    Legalize it, put a minimum age on it, tax it and watch that debt start to melt away.....if they could keep from spending it, that is. 😉

    December 14, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. disptchr645

    It seems the goal of a lot of young people is to feel good. Too bad they will also, at some time in the future, find out what it feels like when their substance of choice stops working. And mind altering substances always do stop working.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThereYaGo

      I've smoked on and off for over 25 years. It makes me feel as good now as it did 25 years ago. But I don't depend on pot to make me happy. I depend on me to make me happy. Peace. 🙂

      December 14, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      Uninformed idiot. Lets see some scientific data showing how marijuana loses its effectiveness.....

      December 14, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Hmm, after 40+ years of smoking herb, it still works.

      You're stupid.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • ReeferMadness

      Yeah, the herb never stops working. I have smoked for about 10 years and I can still get high from a couple hits of high quality stuff. Oh did I mention I just finished my MBA with a 3.9 GPA? Wow, drugs ruined my life.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Red Buttons

      Yes, what a horrible goal, feeling good. Obviously we should all strive to feel miserable.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      not all mind altering substances stop working. i know people who are as nuts about jeebus now as when they accepted him as their friend years ago

      December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  16. AreYouKiddingMe

    Whats scarier than Marijuana synthetics is how CNN censors my posts, including facts. The news is only what THEY want you to know.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anita Bleaujob

      You mean you're an idiot.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
  17. Mark

    This is just stupid. All NIDA ever says is science proves marijuana can be addictive, impairs your driving ability, and can affect performance in school. What drug doesn't affect performance in school? If your drunk all the time your obviously not going to perform well in school. What drug isn't addictive? Coffee is addicting for god sake. It Impairs your driving ability? Obviously, however no ones promoting that you should go drive stoned and regardless of whether it's legal or not people are going to do it anyway. How come NIDA doesn't ever compare these effects to say alcohol or any other drug for that matter? Science shows marijuana is less addicting and has less serious withdrawals than alcohol. One of the reasons teen marijuana use is on the rise is that they've tried both alcohol and marijuana and thus can compare the effects of the two. Teens get drunk and later in life will end up trying marijuana. They assume that they are going to be completely overwhelmed by the experience since it is an illegal drug and supposed to be harmful as said by NIDA. When they use marijuana and dont get near as intoxicated as they would using alcohol they are going to begin to think somethings a little "fishy" dont you think?

    December 14, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mobee

      Do you people ever think about what you write? Once something is legalized, you can never go back, which is why they can't ban alcohol or tobacco and SHOULD NEVER LEGALIZE POT. you honestly think pot doesn't hurt anybody??? Come on... anybody who says they don't know people who died or ruined their lives from marijuana addiction is LYING. yes alcohol is dangerous, so for that reason we should allow something else dangerous? What kind of logic is that?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      Mobee, you are so uneducated its laughable. Try doing some research before spouting off. Fact is, MJ was legal at one point in this countries history...our founding fathers grew hemp and smoked pot. So your argument that anything that is illegal cant become legal and vice verse is a farce.

      "you honestly think pot doesn't hurt anybody??? Come on... anybody who says they don't know people who died or ruined their lives from marijuana addiction is LYING"
      The CDC reports that between 1999 and 2007, there were 26 deaths with marijuana as an underlying cause, in the United States. This was out of a counted population of 2,615,523,905. Marijuana overdose is extremely rare if not impossible. Roughly 100K people die a year just by overdosing on alcohol and another 10k/year due to DUI including innocent people. You do the math.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I love how you referred to me as "you people" which shows your mindset/position on this. When did i say marijuana was harmless? I know its far from harmless. I was just pointing out that in many aspects marijuana is less harmless than alcohol. And being completely honest i know not one person who has died from marijuana addiction as it isn't physically possible. No matter how much you use it you are not going to die. All i am saying is the prohibition of marijuana ruins MANY more lives than marijuana does itself. Obama said he inhaled frequently yet he turned out fine. What future leader's lives are we destroying all because they got caught with a little bit of marijuana?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      OH POOR MOBEE Once again, I have known hundreds of smokers and they all have great lives. I know alot of alcoholics aswell and they are poor miserable souls.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Also Mobee... What is putting people in jail for being addicted to drugs going to accomplish? They're just going to be addicts when they get out (I'm talking about all drugs here). We pay ridiculous amounts of money in taxes to have these people arrested and jailed yet it doesn't lower the amount of addicts does it? Addiction is a health problem and should be treated that way. Addicts should be sent to get treatment not to be jailed. If marijuana were to be legalized we could use the immense money saved as well as tax revenue generated and put it towards addiction treatment/prevention of the drugs that really harm society.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Wow...

      Marijuana is NOT physically or mentally addictive. Period. That is a myth propagated by the ill-informed. Have you ever smoked marijuana, Mark? Do you know the consistent, prolonged effects first-hand?

      December 14, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      MOOBY- YOU ARE AN IDIOT. I do not know one person who knows anyone who knows anyone ETC that has ever known anyone to die from Marijuana. I know many people who have died from Alcohol.... possibly they had also smoked pot but died of Alcohol poisioning. Your ignorance is astonishing!!! PLease LEARN before you speak.

      Also Marijuana was legal and commonly used for recreation, religiously and Medicinally for 1000s of years!!

      December 14, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
  18. Doug Pederson AKA SpectateSwamp

    Ch***t that can't be good for the Kids

    December 14, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. yahmez

    Legalize the real stuff and this poisonous fake stuff will go away.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. bczu

    "We must be clear and {honest} with young people" Yeah how about clearing up all those lies about marijuana. Schedule 1 drug, yet Cocaine and Meth are schedule 2 drugs. So marijuana is a gateway drug, to drugs that are less powerful. (makes sense) Prohibition does not work!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. KF

    These darn kids, with their funny cigarettes and rock-n-roll music. Everyone knows that synthetic marijuana leads to santanism, cannibalism and worst of all...communism. Too bad we can't make some synthetic common sense. Then maybe we could stop this little farce called prohibition and just legalize the real thing.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bczu

      Dont forget about your white daughters using it and screwing minorities.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Niemand

      I agree with you about everything but the Santanism. Santanism is actually dependent on the time of year, not on a given drug. I've noticed that most children climb aboard the Santanism train (the street name is "Polar Express" of all things) right around Christmas time. It's going on right now! Stop the madness!!
      😉

      December 14, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
  22. AreYouKiddingMe

    marinol

    December 14, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bczu

      Way to bend over to Big Pharma. It doesnt contain CBD which was shown by the National Cancer Society to fight and even destroy tumor cells. But, you cant patent a plant so they release marinol! Sheep...

      December 14, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
  23. MR AMERICA

    I would like to see the details of all these "hospital visits." Usually they are panic attacks from kids that get high and bug out, there is no bodily harm done to them, they just get scared and go to the ER.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThereYaGo

      Back in the day, a buddy of mine had some good bud and this girl came up to us at a party and wanted to smoke with us. We warned her that it was pretty good, but should would hear nothing of it. Next thing we know, she's freaking out, saying we put something in it. Of course, the rest of us, outside of a good buzz, were fine.

      She went and sleep for about 3 hours and woke up just fine. I agree with you. They just can't handle it and bug out.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  24. SCDad

    7th graders are using it in SC. I teach 7th grade social studies in South Carolina and I have personally witnessed dozens of kids pue up for expulsion hearing because they use, or sell, sythetic marijuana and bath salts on school property. I'm talking about 12-14yo kids. Most of them get the stuff from their white-trash parents.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Bates

    Frankly I don't care what HS kids do. IF they want to ruin their lives and futures because of some stupid drug, then let them. The world needs gas pumpers and burger flippers.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bczu

      I smoke pot and I make 76.3 k a year. My buddy works for a company that turns trash into products. Their CEO is a regular pot smoker. He makes more than both of us ever will. Did you ever think because of your narrow minded view towards marijuana no one will ever admit to you that they smoke it? You are just generalizing a group of people because you are uneducated about the subject.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • ThereYaGo

      Your comment is a testament to your feeble mind. And to think, you got that way without pot. What's your excuse?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • Firsttakecareofhead

      Me too. I am a successful sales manager and regular user. I'm the smartest most informed guy I know!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Bates

      All I hear from you ignoramuses is: "blah blah blah, I do drugs and think I'm successful so I can attack everyone else who doesn't do drugs because of it." You hippy pot heads need to smacked in the face with a heavy piece of mining equipment. You are a drain on the society, not too mention a danger. Continue to fund drug cartels and drug dealers because you asses think it is ok to smoke. What a joke. The only thing I get to look forward too from you simple minded fools smoking up all the time is that maybe one day you will smoke yourself stupid (well more stupid, you are smoking in the first place) from all the brain cells you are killing, or that you will smoke yourself sterile so you can't procreate and pollute this planet further.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      All I hear from you Bates is an uneducated babble. Explain how we are a drain on society? Continue to fund drug cartels? I grow my own and the only stuff that comes from drug cartels is poop thats smuggled over in car tires. Never touched the stuff and I dont plan on it. The rest of your comment is hate filled dribble. You are the drain on society, you are a hate filled lunatic that keeps our country from moving forward. Explain to me why we have cannaboid receptors in our brain. Explain to me why marijuana was used in medicine for thousands of years. Explain to me why places like the National Cancer Society has shown studies that marijuana can fight and even kill tumor cells. You are a sheep for big business....

      December 14, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      Dude I smoke every day and have a $100k/year job, drive an Benz E55 AMG and a M5 BMW and just bought my first house. Yeah, Im flipping burgers alright. Quit with the stereotypes

      December 14, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "You hippy pot heads need to smacked in the face with a heavy piece of mining equipment."

      Come to my house Bates, and you will have a .45ACP barrel in your mouth.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      "You hippy pot heads need to smacked in the face with a heavy piece of mining equipment"

      Come and get me, blowhard

      December 14, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
  26. The all potent one

    Politicians don't want to legalize MJ because they'd lose campaign $$ from the big phamas. It's all about getting re-elected not about what's best for the public.
    If you want things to improve vote for Ron Paul

    December 14, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DAVEYANT

    Again more lies about marijuanna. Marijuanna is not adictive.....only a person that has an addictive personality has issues with any drug including the perfectly legal alcohol and cigarettes. Marijuanna does not kill, it does not drive you nuts. It is from God and of course our double standard is stated on our paper money "IN GOD WE TRUST." Yeah if you trust him then trust his product. It does not state "IN JOHNSON AND JOHNSON DO WE TRUST." I started smoking marijuanna at age 25 after years of being scared to death of it due to media and goverment propaganda. I still smoke it 15 years later and not even daily. If it was addictive then I should be sitting in a corner rocking if I was out and not smoking it. Our own government makes addictive products, not God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with marijuanna and I would tell anyone that out of experience. The new K2 and other synthetic stuff should be banned. That is a man made chemical and is really bad news

    December 14, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bczu

      Funny how no one ever brings up how some people are addicted to food. Like you said anyone with an addictive personality can be addicted to anything.....including God.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      And people need to understand why marijuana was made illegal back in 1934. It was because they wanted a way to discriminate against blacks. Because back at that time many blacks could not afford alcohol and so they smoked some marijuana instead. And the marijuana laws were used as a means to threaten and control blacks.

      .

      December 14, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • thizz

      close but it was used against Mexicans more than blacks. just saying.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "It was because they wanted a way to discriminate against blacks"

      Actually they were discriminating against Mexicans

      December 14, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  28. Mars

    This is the consequence of not legalizing a natural plant. Prohibition didn't work for alcohol and it will not work for pot. Just remember, it is nearly impossible to legalize marijuana now because of the sheer amount of money being made by the DEA, the courts, the lawyers and the prison complex. I don't ever see marijuana legalized in this country. Take a look at Obama's changed stance on the drug laws, campaign promises vs elected reality. There is an irresistible force in government to keep one of the most beneficial plants known to man in the black market. This country will die before pot is legalized.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff

      Actually they are LOSING tons of money not making any. They shell out BILLIONS each year prosecuting and jailing marijuana offenders. Look up your facts there buddy.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Mars

      Actually, I did look up the facts, buddy. You're telling me that lawyers, the prison complex, the DEA, etc. aren't making millions of people a decent living, fat incomes, secure jobs...it is the TAXPAYERS that are losing the money. Think before you post, Jeff.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • The all potent one

      Jeff, you actually believe the private prison facilities are paying for jailing people?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
  29. ranger830

    At present there is no way for the corporations ie phillip morris etc., and the federal govt. to tax cannabis!!!! But once they work out how to tax,regulate,and trade cannabis on the all mighty stock market. Watch how their toon will change!!!!! Next thing you know you will be reading articles about the benifits of this plant and its derivitives! Its all about the money people!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mars

      BS. It is a lot easier for me to go down to the store and buy some bud than grow it myself. The not taxable argument does not hold water.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  30. SCDad

    I'd vote for legalizing marijuana on 1 condition:

    Anyone who can not hold down a job because of their habit would NOT qualify for any aid in the form of welfare, WIC, foodstamps, etc. I do not smoke, I busted my tail to get my 4 college degrees, I work like crazy for my money. I do not want my tax dollars feeding dope heads who get fired for running forklifts into walls (my best friend) because they were high.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Where do I begin?

      1. I doubt you have four degrees.
      2. I doubt you have three degrees
      3. I doubt you have two degrees
      4. I doubt you have even one degree

      If you have "friends" who run forklifts into walls, I doubt you graduated from high school.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Mars

      If that's your argument, better make alcohol illegal again.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • The all potent one

      Your friend drove a fork lift into the wall because he's of low IQ not stoned.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      SCDad: Not going far enough. Include people who do not work based on any habit, including eating, drinking, smoking......

      December 14, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
  31. IgnorantPeople

    Marijuana being sold today is not the same "natural plant" that it once was. Everything is grown to be stronger/bigger/better with all these fake chemicals that we now ingest. While I do enjoy the plant, I make sure to grow my own to avoid any extra toxins.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mars

      What are you talking about? Are the tomatoes you buy at the store not natural? What about corn? Etc, etc. You don't use fertilizer on your plants? if you don't, you're growing some scrawny buds.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
  32. momo0828

    I say legalize the drugs & tax it like alcohol. The kids are still going to get stoned and the drug enforcement agencies such as the DEA and Border patrol are going to let the money and proceeds get to the dealers to make more money anyway. So what’s the point? The drug trade has become a self-sustaining economy where the drug dealers and the drug busters work in concert with each other. Because of this, both sides could really care less about the casualties as long as it does not affect their families. People are still smoking cigarettes even though there is plenty of health information out there that talk about its dangers. And yet states are too happy to collect tax revenue from the sale of these products to bolster their mismanaged and over inflated budgets. After all; drugs and the control of them is all about the money; nothing else, and only those who produce it and/or fight against it, enjoy the profits. Legalize and tax the drugs I say; so that America can become the “Land of the Free & Home of the Stoned.”

    December 14, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • us1776

      momo0828, please realize something. NOTHING is going to change by legalizing and taxing marijuana. Tens of millions of Americans use marijuana. You will see almost nothing change at all. Marijuana is so freely available that those that want to use it are already using it.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Mars

      Actually, US1776, by legalizing a natural plant, America will wipe the $h!t off its face because it won't look like a dogmatic, arrogant, reactionary, and oppressive country. That's reason enough to legalize it. Millions of kids are still going to jail, BILLIONS of our hard earned dollars are lining the pockets of murderers? Is that going to stay the same? It will be much less if marijuana is legalized. The crime is not with the people who use it, it is the useless law. Can we all get real?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  33. ranger830

    War on drugs LMFAO!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Nofah Kingweigh

    My extensive research indicates that cannabis use causes increased enjoyment of food, a profound appreciation for music, and higher tolerance to stupidity of others.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Joe Sixpack

    It looks like kids still aren't dumb enough to believe all the propaganda about marijuana. Maybe another 30 years and another couple of billion of tax dollars will convince future generations, but I don't think so. In the mean time, alcohol continues to be sold over the counter and cause thousands of deaths each year.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Joe

    In all seriousness, how is weed still illegal? Clearly the "harmful" side effects are not as bad as people once thought them to be. I feel like basically the American people have been lied to since the days of the reefer madness campaign. You wonder why marijuana use is on the rise? Information travels faster than ever these days, and kids understand that beyond lung damage from the smoke, there really aren't any harmful side effects of the drug.

    I believe there still should be laws in place about driving under the influence and age requirements, but beyond that, the rest of their propaganda is a bunch of B.S.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mark

    This article cracks me up. I am a Junior in College now, but when I was a senior in high school I tried K2 just for the heck of it. We each smoked a gram of it, and the high was similar to marijuana, but the come down off of it was horrendous. Horrible cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, headaches. I say let them try it, and they will know that its only worth trying once like me.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dean jimmy

    High-school seniors (anywhere between 16-19 years old) can hardly be considered teenagers. Seniors are next in line to enter the proper world - 16 is the age of consent in many states, 17 is when people can run off and join the military, 18 is the age at which they can smoke, and they only gain more liberties as they age from then on...

    December 14, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Elizabeth

    The war on drugs is merely smoke and mirrors for the Big Pharmaceutical Corps. A plant should not be illegal. If you don't want to smoke it, don't, but legalizing it would bring more regulation that exists now. I do believe in a Creator, and Scripture says everything He created was good, so, day 3 pot was declared good by G-d, Himself. Just who is our government to say otherwise? Legalize it, tax it, and stop spending millions and billions prosecuting and imprisoning someone in possession of a couple of ounces of pot. It's ridiculous!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. O

    Why isn't this article focusing on the good news that Teens are no longer using harmful drugs like Alcohol and Cocaine and instead are making the SAFER choice to smoke Marijuana?

    If it were legalized you would never see another death from synthetic Marijuana, cause nobody would buy it.

    So THE GATEWAY DRUG is more prevalent than ever, yet use of Alcohol, and harmful drugs has dwindled over 50% since teen Marijuana use has skyrocketed?

    Maybe its not a gateway drug at all, maybe the teenagers who are smoking Marijuana in higher numbers now are choosing to make the SAFER choice, and abstaining from harmful substances like Alcohol and Cocaine.

    This article is quite the celebratory news I would say!! The kids are alright after all!!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ranger830

      Very well said!!!!!! HERE HERE!!!!! Funny that the stoner generation of the 70s and 80s have raised children who are smarter than our own government and lawmakers! HEE HEE!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
  41. Roger Ogilivy Thornhill

    I don't smoke anything or drink alcohol, but why is pot illegal? No good reason, that's why. People obviously want to partake is this non-violent activity which affects others no more than drinking alcohol affects others. Legalize marijuana use, tax it, require warnings on the package: "May cause you to become a harlot. May cause breasts in men", whatever. And let people buy it legally without having to deal with the criminal element to fulfill their desire to party in their own way.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. It's not synthetic marijuana

    This is more propagandizing by the government. They ban a safe drug which is replaced by a far more dangerous drug, and rather than taking responsibility, use it to smear the far safer drug.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Roger Ogilivy Thornhill

    Marijuana is a gateway drug largely because you have to go to crooks and pushers to get a hold of it. It's in the best interest of the businessman selling you the drugs to sell you something that has a higher profit margin. So these drugs, like meth and crack, get pushed onto you. When marijuana is legal, the crooks won't be pushing the higher profit-margin drugs onto you anymore than the guy at the alcohol store tries to get you to switch from Bud Light to Bacardi 151.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • robwc

      lol you have never bought it based on your post. you think everyone selling pot is pushing crack and meth that is hilarious.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  44. Joe

    The opponents of legalization always seem to talk about how the drug ruins lives. What is your response to someone like the CEO of Progressive being an advocate for marijuana? There is someone who not only openly talks about smoking, but won't even drug test his employees because of his strong belief in legalization.

    All you people who associate weed with dumb hippies need to wake up and realize that there are many successful people who use the drug too. The problem is in most cases they can't admit to it for fear of ruining their reputation with people like you. You probably won't believe that last statement but I have witnessed it first hand.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Binky42

    Not everyone is college material.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThereYaGo

      lol...what are you talking about? The best place to score good weed is a college campus.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
  46. snowdogg

    Wow... kids looking for cheap thrills! I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Justin

    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Legalize Marijuana.... Nuff Said

    December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. B

    I love that this article states multiple times that marijuana use causes serious health concerns; however, it then states as its evidence, "Science shows it is addictive. Research shows it impairs driving. Studies show it can degrade academic performance." Coke is addictive, cell phone impair driving, and studies are dumb. None of these are actual health concerns. Make it legal, study the drug, and then tell me that it's bad for me, don't just guess. More anti-weed propaganda hoooray! Teens doing any of these drugs is due to poor parenting, isn't that the main issue here??

    December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Ryan

    I am an adult and I use Marijuana sparingly. Kids and Teenagers should not be using drugs or alcohol as they are continuously developing during these years. However when they become an adult at the age of 18 or 21(depending on law implementation) they should have the right to choose. And if they choose to do it, they should be buying it at a regulated facility not the dope dealer on the corner. WAKE UP AMERICA

    December 14, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. AB

    I'd rather my child smoke real marijuana

    December 14, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      I'd rather your child smoked real marijuana, as well.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.