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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. Jennifer

    I have smoke that K2 stuff and it's bad news! Everybody that I know that has tried it says the same. It can't possibly be good for you. It's not natural like marijuana. It makes you feel like your about to have an heart attack. I have smoked weed for 15 years and it never has done that. Weed needs to be legalized. You can never smoke so much weed you die, never hit somebody in a car or it make you do things you would otherwise never do like when you are under the influence of alcohol. To those that say marijane makes you an idiot I would like to say first try it before you knock it. And second my husband is a Doctor has smoke marijane for 20 years and is perfectly of sound mind and body! We are both educated, healthy, productive people that like to smoke. So whats wrong with that?

    December 14, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GET OVER IT

      excellent.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      But, why do you smoke this stuff, can't you stay away?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What business of yours is it ABC. Sounds like she is happy smoking marijuana why do you care if she does it or not?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • Brittany

      You can't hit someone in a car while you're high? Please explain. In college, there were times I was so high I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • fred

      Uuuuuh, duh. It's still illegal. Mostly to protect people like you and your Dr. hubby FROM yourselves. Of course you get stoned, just like from drinking booze. Of course people kill people in car accidents just like with booze. You have apparenlty already smoked a lifetime's worth of pot. Get off the pipe.

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

      Please tell the world where your Dr. Hubby practices so we can properly report him to the State Medical Board.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      I do hope that continued use will help with your grammar and sentence structure, especially given your claim to being "educated."

      December 14, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • lydia

      Thank you Jennifer, I agree 100%. I've been smoking much longer than you and your husband and I am a healthy, intellegent, active 52 year old female working as the Controller of high provile special events company and I don't miss a beat. Alcohol and cigaretts are bad for you PERIOD!

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

      The car remark is the only thing I have to say False on. PLEASE do NOT drive and smoke. You need full focus driving. Otherwise right on. ALSO to the man saying why cant you stop (Im paraphrasing bite me), I ask you, Go into your local bar. Ask someone whos having a beer (or mixed drink, or on the rocks whatever) why are you having that drink? Take whatever answer you get. Replace any "booze" word with dank. Thats your answer.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      ABC, that's pretty one dimensional thinking. I enjoy cannabis because it's enjoyable. Why is it that you can't mind your own business? Can't you keep from sticking your nose into other people's affairs?

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

      Actually, there was a study done by NHTSA in the early 80's testing marijuana and driving. The reason nobody really knows about the report is because, as is often with studying marijuana, the results didn't go the governments way. While not finding marijuana completely safe while operating a motor vehicle, the results proved that marijuana drivers were way less impaired then alcohol impaired drivers, and way less then other drug impaired drivers. In fact, the study revealed that many drivers on marijuana tend to drive safer or a lot slower and to compensate safely. The study can still be found by Googling NHTSA and Marijuana driving. It is hard to find because the government went to great lengths to hide the truth

      December 14, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      not sticking nose, but just wanted to know the advantages, so that educate people whether to use or not.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      fred: the effects of smoking pot are very different than those from drinking

      December 14, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • markula

      good call. whats the difference between that and a glass of wine daily?

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

      Agree with EVERYTHING Jennifer says. How many people fall into you while slurring and being loud after smoking? How many accidents do you hear about in the news which were caused by weed? How many people smoke themselves to death? Isn't the addiction of alcohol a physical addiction (it is, weed is not), aren't cigarettes a psychological and physical addiction? Hell, some people are addicted to Big Macs and overtax our health care system because their arteries are hardening. All these legal things have some or more adverse affects than cannabis but you don't see anyone running out to make them illegal. The drug war in Mexico? Anyone remember Al Capone? Valentines Day Massacre? Hello?

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

      Jennifer, if you seriously believe that "you can't hit someone in a car" while under the influence of ANY DRUG

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Fred wins 0

      Fred….. you are a brainwashed puppet of the moral pretenders who don't have anything better to do than to try to interfere in other peoples personal lives. And then to top of your illegitimate belief system, You try to force everyone to conform to your falsely perceived world. Smoke if you want to people, Life is short and even though it has people like Fred who are annoyingly unintelligent. At least they are temporary as well so F them.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      Never tried the synthetic marijuana and it sounds like bad news.
      As for the natural stuff, the following are the facts:
      – it is NOT addictive (so stop perpetuating that myth)
      – overall it is less harmful than booze
      – no one has ever "OD'd" on natural marijuana
      – it is impossible to eradicate

      To those out there who still need to get your mind right, no amount of money spend on enforcement will ever make a significant dent in marijuana use – ever. It is simply a waste of scarce enforcement resources attempting to eradicate the uneradicable. Therefore, the only sane solution is to legalize it, tax it and regulate it much the same as booze. Thereafter, illegal drug enforcement can focus on hard drugs that are addictive and a significant threat to ones health.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      you know what it...it is a damn shame that athletes get drug tested and then scrutinized and put on trial for taking GHB or steroids to hit more home runs...however, we got Drs smoking weed and probably doing worse then doing surgeries and otehr stuff, yet we dont' drug test those drs....wake the hell up people..our priorities are so screwed up.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Someguy1982

      Its funny that the only reason why this "dangerous alternative" is around is because marijuana is illegal. This along with all the other factual information should show how pointless the "war on drugs" is. People are going to find a way to escape the everyday annoyances and problems of the real world. Drugs are not going away! Its time to find a new way to deal with them.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • Dusty

      Your 100% Right.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      A person's body knows what to do with weed, but doesn't know how to handle chemicals. If pot were legal kids would get older kids to buy it for them like they do with alcohol instead of smoking this dangerous stuff.

      I am 61 and have smoked weed off and on for 45 years. I am a professional person and have a good job where I make good money, have never been arrestested for anything, have never been on welfare and have no debt except for car payments. Other than an occasional beer with friends I don't do any other drugs including prescription drugs.

      After 45 years, what other proof do we need that weed doesn't make you depraved or that it's a gateway to other drugs.Time to pull the teeth out of these Latin cartels and legalize it! They want tax money? Well what about all this green gold right under their noses! Instead, we spend uncountable millions and millions trying to control it. You can't fix stupid...

      December 14, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • high flyer

      I agree totally... I am a commercial pilot that smokes on a regular basis. Being the Captain of the crew of a 747 demands me to be at my best at all times. There has never been I time that I felt my crew or passengers were in danger. (What? That scares you?....hmmmm)

      December 14, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      But our government gives the OK to alcohol and tobacco because they can control and tax it.
      What a bunch of intrusive, money grabbing hypocrites.
      No one will ever stop people from smoking pot.
      It's just a fact.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • cido

      obviously, smoking marijuana does make YOU an idiot. It DOES impair your driving ability as well as "other things" that are similar to being under the influence. Do your research first. I don't care if you smoke or not, but you should be informed as to what it does to your body. I am a physician, and there is a reason you "like" to smoke. It is addictive!!! Be cool..stay in school.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • freedom5071

      I have to agree with everything that Jennifer says, except the part about driving. You could have an accident because your are high and thinking about something else, just as you could hit a tractor trailer head-on because you are sending a text message. Marijuana isn't a horrible substance and I honestly would rather see a doctor who might give me something natural to cure an illness instead of something created in a lab that can become very addicting. You would never hear please contact your physician if you have suicidal thoughts. Or side effects include but are not limited to, Heart Attack, Diarrhea, Memory Loss, Stroke, Blood Clot, etc....

      Also this K2 crap is completely horrible for you and clearly states on the package "Not For Human Consumption", but that is what it is intended for. I tried this crap when I was nineteen because it was a legal alternative and knew after taking a couple drags that this stuff wasn't for me. The taste, the sensations are nothing like marijuana because K2 like prescription medications are developed in laboratories. It is a crying shame that our government will allow this ticking death sentence to be sold legally and will not allow a simple plant to grow. It is all to protect the pharmaceutical companies from the remedies and reliefs that a naturally growing plant can provide to patients who would benefit from it. The legalization of Marijuana would in a sense put pharmacies across the country out of business unless they joined in on the sale, plain and simple.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      ABC,

      Why do you eat chocolate? Can't you stay away? Wait, let me guess. Because you like it.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      Steve, also because no one said they are bad to your health if you control your intake.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Duham

      STEVE, do you think that since we are eating animals and birds, it is ok to eat humans too. Good comparison though you have

      December 14, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
    • Damon

      First things first, smoking is completely obsolete and bad for your health. I gave up smoking cannabis 7 years ago, switched to vapor and never looked back. My lungs feel so much better and I am glad I got rid of that bad habit (smoking ANYTHING is bad news). So as much as I totally respect people using whatever herbs or drugs that make them happy, use them in a way that isn't as harmful. If you want to use cannabis, vaporize it or eat it, avoid smoking.

      Secondly, when you legalize a herb or drug, its for RESPONSIBLE users. Even if you can drive while intoxicated, a truly responsible person would NOT drive. There is honestly zero excuse to drive while under the influence of ANYTHING.

      DRIVE SOBER, its better for everyone on the road.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  2. GET OVER IT

    I'm shocked that they are shocked.... wake up and let people do what they want, any other way creates more misery and pain. You cannot create unjust laws just because you want people to act as you think they should. mankind is a barbarian and laws will not change anything, that's why your prisons are filling up. grow up mankind by learning to let go.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Paul

    It is really unfortunate how this article fails to mention how much more dangerous and unhealthy synthetic marijuana is compared to real marijuana. The article goes on to mention how "dangerous" marijuana is, but fails to mention the fact that synthetic marijuana can cause seizures and even death, two things that do not result from natural marijuana use. Of course synthetic marijuana would not exist if natural marijuana was legal.
    I guess it is too much to expect real journalism from CNN.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yepyoureright

      I actually know someone who had a seizure and spent a week in the hopital. He had been using the synthetic because it doesn't comeup on drug tests in case he was randomly picked for a test at work. They couldn't figure out what had caused it. He fianlly admitted to the doc he used the synthetic weed and the doc said that could very well be the cause because it is known to cause seizures. So, he stopped using it to be on the safe side and has no problems since. This seizure happened right after he got home from leaving work early because he was not feeling well. He had over an hour drive and this seizure could have occurred at any moment while he was behind the wheel. Bad news stuff. I will never nderstand what's so bad about being sober and in touch with reality on a daily basis, but that's just me I guess. I smoked weed for years and know for a fact that it can impair you. There were times a friend would be talking to me and their voice sounded like it was coming from another room and I looked for them when they were right next to me. I hallucinated plenty of times while high. My @ss it's safe to drive high.

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

      These "synthetic marijuana" products are very new. These are new chemicals. Aside from the fact that they have not been studied medically/scientifically, we have very little practical experience with them either. We do know from practical experience that they can have very bad effects. So, they are really just a stupid thing to be using.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
  4. conoclast

    Oh, so it's the old 'marijuana is addictive' scare again, eh? With the world falling through its own rectum and individual stress levels going through the roof it's the perfect time for irrelevant blue-noses to try to deny folks one of their remaining "sanity options", hmm? Wage your little War on Pot all you like, throwbacks; just remember it's a weed and grows practically anywhere!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rob

    This is news? Even "backward" Utah was reporting on this nearly two(!) years ago: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=&sid=9577404

    Real news would be that a Republican Pres. Candidate that wants to legalize MJ, legalize gay marriage, and supports a woman's right to choose – oh wait, better not report that! (his name is Gary Johnson btw)

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

      Please don't cast your vote for a president just for the sake of Marijuana.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Momto4

      Anyone wanting to legalize pot, abortion (murder) of course you make is sound so communist, "a woman's right to choose"), same sex marriage, is to ignorant to be a republican.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • mklsgl

      Dr. Ron Paul is a better candidate who supports socially-progressive ideas–which the rest of the GOP label as "crazy" or "whacky." How ironic.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      I'm a long time, dedicated Dem. from Wyoming. (That should tell you how dedicated I am) I will tell you right now, that's the ONLY issue I would cross party lines for in a New York Nano second. If only a pol with a chance would come out and unequivicable state it. (yes I know about Gary Johnson. Yes I would vote for him if by some snowball's chance in hades he got the nom)

      December 14, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      @ MOM TO 4- So your saying that anyone that is for personal freedom is to IGNORANT to be a Republican?? YOu are freaking crazy.
      Marijauna- Has been proven to be safer than Alcohol and cigarettes but is still Illegal. Plus if someone smokes in the privacy of their own Home it NONE of your business- Whos being stupid now?- YOU
      Gay Marriage- If 2 people of the same sex want to get married, it effects you in NO way so butt out of people private lives- Whos being a communist now?- YOU
      Abortion- Many people do not like abortion but realize its not their body or choice- Stay away from someone elses body! You are not the judge of anyone! Who being a dictator now? YOU

      You are ridiculous! Everything you just claimed was communist like- You completely contradicted your self. You are a HYPOCRITe, Against personal freedom, act like a dictator and are just plain stupid. The Republican party (ones like you) need to stay the hell out of my uterus, bedroom and body. Also, please look up the word Ignorant!

      December 14, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  6. Budnugs

    Couldnt be happeir..keep smokin kids!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. TB

    Conium maculatum (commonly known as hemlock) is a "natual" god given plant as well. Doesn't mean it is good for you.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eman

      How many 12th graders are using hemlock?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      Neither is hemlock illegal.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      That's a ridiculous comparison. Maybe you should do some Hemlock yourself.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Human beings don't necessarily do all things because they're "good for you." I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • AndyB

      Plenty of natural things are both harmful and non-harmful. We are allowed plenty of harmful things to kill ourselves with so why do people think we shouldn't be allowed to have marijuana? There's no law saying I can't drink bleach if I want to.

      December 14, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
  8. DemFL

    I thought 12th graders were smarter than this. It goes to show you they did not learn the value of LIFE as they don't seem to think anything will hurt them. WAKE UP!! At least smoke the real stuff if you're going to smoke it at all.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Anthony

    Why is weed illegal? how many ppl have ever gone to the hospital for an overdose on weed? and now we have a synthetic form of weed that uses chemicals and has caused thousands of kids to go to the hospital. I just don't understand. Growing up it was 100 times easier to get weed than liquor, regulate and tax it so that synthetic, more dangerous forms of weed aren't a problem.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Momto4

      If you are stupid enough to smoke something that could kill you and you die. There is only one person to blame YOU!!!! Grow up and get your heads out of the weed>

      December 14, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Mom – Except for the FACT that weed cannot kill you. Accidents do – weed does not.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • redragon

      Mom-If you have never done the stuff.... then you really should be talking.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  10. HiroAkita

    I have an idea... Once the new legislation passes, arrest everyone and re-program their brains! Pay taxes = Yes... Obey = Yes... Drugs = No, Question the system = No.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kyle

    To all you people who want to legalize marijuana, please explain to me how you suggest driving while high should be regulated. Is there a way to determine how high someone is?

    December 14, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • metallics

      Yes, hair follicle testing and saliva.

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

      Oh Really? And if this was such a problem, don't you think there would be some type of statistic on it? Been there, did it for over 20 years – guess what? No accidents that were ever my fault., And I'd like to tell you that most people driving after a joint are still safer drivers than some people talking on a cell phone, their GPS, or eating a Big Mac and Fries. I'm much more worried about some idiot trying to text and read his 4 inch display.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Countless people drive with too little sleep, yet if they were to swerve and get pulled over, they would likely be quite awake once the officer approaches their window. Is there a way to control this dangerous behavior as well? It only takes one example to show the absurdity of your argument.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
    • jennifer

      i believe that we can get to the point where there is a fair test out there that can handle this problem. the reason we do not have a reliable way to test for this in the field is due to the nature of how the plant effect people. for one it affects many people differently. it stays in your system for periods up to a month.( this is why many test could not prove if you have medicated today or 15 days ago ) . our brains have receptors to the properties of the real marijuana so they can make you fail a test but you may not necessarily be impaired in any manner . i do believe if they can create a test that can tell if you have smoked or used and are impaired (vision , speech, or ability to move) i am for it . but until they can prove that it is impairing their ability to function properly without arresting every driver that fails due to the fact that they simply had it in their system i don't think that anything will help. all it will do if flood our local and federal government with more people that have tested positive. there are lots of high profile people that medicate and people in communities that might have the chance of being arrested for no good reason.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      How about if you explain why you think that arresting people who have not, and may never drive while impaired will help increase highway safety even a little bit?

      Next, please explain why you think that there is no one driving while impaired today? Or are you proffering the absurdity that there are people who are today sober as the proverbial judge for no reason other than a deep seated respect for every bogus law that they're ordered to comply with, but for some reason if allowed to enjoy cannabis legally will suddenly become scofflaws and go out driving while impaired?

      Cannabis addled driving is not appropriately considered as a stand alone problem. The problem is driving while impaired. Whether that impairment is caused by drinking alcohol, prescription drugs, opioids, cocaine, cannabis or sniffing model airplane glue is irrelevant.

      The first time I heard the lame excuse that we can't [decriminalize] cannabis because we don't have a breathalyzer equivalent was in 1976 when Jimmy Carter supported Federal decrim in his campaign platform. That was 3 1/2 decades ago for crying out loud. By now its become apparent that the research isn't being done into inventing such a test because it's absence is just too convenient a piece of hysterical rhetoric for the Know Nothings to continue promoting the epic failure of public policy that is the criminalization of cannabis. It's amazing that anyone falls for this particular red herring. Just how many more decades should we wait for our scientists to develop such a device?

      “Never let the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric.”
      ~ The motto of the Know Nothing prohibitionist

      December 14, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Uh, the same way it is now m o r o n.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      I guess you can't tell "how" high someone is – But you can certainly tell if they are or not.

      Operating while under the influence – Its that simple. If you are high while driving and get caught, then you get punished.

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

      Blood testing is the only way to know if someone has just smoked mj, hair and saliva shows that you smoked at some point in the past, but say nothing about how stoned you may or may not be presently. Also since mj is a sched 1 drug and illegal, there is no medically accepted threshold to determine if someone is actutely intoxicated with mj. One person could have, say, 0.01mg/dL blood concentration and essentially be sober, while someone else could have 0.001mg/dL blood concentration and be so stoned they can't even walk. Would like to see a breath test developed, similar to alcohol breath test, but not sure if any measureable amount of cannibinoids is present in lungs or on breath after recently smoking.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • Smell_This

      Isn't driving DRUNK also illegal?

      December 14, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Bryan: Do you really believe you can detect whenever someone is high? You know, people who always act like morons will appear to be morons when they are high. However, it is likely that many people around you every day are high or have a buzz and you don't even know it. You know why? Because they were not morons before they got high.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • CM

      Who cares? Study the facts, states with medical marijuana laws are seeing HUGE reductions in vehicle deaths.

      http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/12/study_medical_marijuana_makes.php

      December 14, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • CM

      "In the simulator, drunk drivers were found to lack a true understanding of how badly their driving skills were impaired, and, as a result, were more prone to engage in risky behavior and drive faster.
      Conversely, drivers under the influence of marijuana were found to be far more aware of the impact that the drug had on their driving skills, causing them to engage in far less risky behavior and drive at lower speeds."

      December 14, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      People smoke now, what do they do now for it? And did you ever stop and think that if you can't tell if someone is messed up/high maybe it doesn't effect them as much as you thought? I mean, if you can't tell they are messed up. They probably aren't messed up enough to worry about their driving. Who would you rather have on the roads, a guy going 20 in a 50 or a drunk guy doing 90 in a 20 going the wrong way on a one way road.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
  12. chicagok

    Everyone knows that Obama was a druggie. He now is allowing your kids to be druggies and die young. You have a choice: oust the liberal democrats who are killing your kids or vote for someone else!

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

      STFU

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

      How does this have anything to do with Obama or democrats getting your kids on drugs? In fact, they're trying to make new laws to keep up with the new drugs. You can't oversimplify issues to play into your twisted two party tug of war.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      Republicans crack me up...spend money to heat old peoples homes during winter? Hell no! Billions on a pointless War on Drugs? Hell yes!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Breck

      Can you elaborate on your statement? What you wrote only sounds like rhetoric to me.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      So Obama is the only candidate that has done illegal drugs? How about Newt Gingrich in Graduate School? How about past Presidents like Clinton and Geo W. Bush? Although Mitt Romney has never used alcohol or marijuana, he recommends the use of synthetic THC (Marinol) for seriously ill people (Youtube video). Not one person in all human history has died from an overdose of marijuana. If you are for banning all drugs more dangerous than marijuana, you should also be for banning alcohol, oxycontin, asprin, and tobacco. Let's hear from some prohibitionists out there!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      First off, Obama is not forcing anyone to do anything. He tried pot and coke when he was a kid, but realized it was a bad idea and gave it up. You must be just as upset that Bush was a coke-head AND a true alcoholic for which he actually had to quit drinking.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Grand Puba? Is that you Aurthur P? Or just someone from the Motor City? Was thinking about him the other day. Been a long time since I've lived there. Was on my way home on Friday Night and thought about how I missed the Grand Pubas introduction of the weekend at 6 P.M. with Weekend Warrior by Ted Nugent.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
  13. medpotuser

    It's time to legalize and end this ridiculous "war" on marijuana. It isn't going away, EVER! If this country expects to see a sharp decline in drug use among teens, our government needs to pull it's head out and stop marijuana prohibition. Smoking these "alternatives" to marijuana are doing much more harm than good. Synthetics are a lot worse for your system than people may think. Stick to what's real if you're going to smoke weed. Your body/mind will thank you.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Really Now?

    We cannot solve today's problems using the same way of thinking that created these problems – Einstien

    December 14, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mark

    The government has tried to stop the use of the real stuff with no discernable effect.
    It's the government's fault that synthetics have popped up, and the results are on
    their shoulders. People like to catch a buzz. If you look at the stats, the tragedies,
    the cost in lives and money, weed is like drinking milk compared to alcohol.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jennifer

    i don't like the fact that they say this is "synthetic" marijuana. it is just bunch of chemicals mixed together and processed look like marijuana it has no properties of any DNA of marijuana unlike the real synthetic marinol pills contain that mimic the marijuana genes. i wish that people would stop making things that should be illegal and ever produced from the start and then put in in the same category as a real plant that has been growing longer than there has been records to record all of the wonderful healing aspects it possess.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Jon Dough

    From the government that can't count how many new homes are sold; sounds like another devious way to
    counter natural, real, marijuana (an the popular movements to legalize it) – attach a bunch of legitimately bad stuff to a name that is the same (fake marijuana), but whose content is totally different. More Orwellian doublespeak and goverment
    misinformation.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. metallics

    As the government continues to try to legislate morality, the clandestine chemist community will just continue to make new drug analogues at a fast pace. The war on drugs is ineffective and cannot be won. Ever.

    "Drop in alcohol and cigarette use has occurred gradually for a number of years."
    Oh, so drugs that are legal and thus regulated are being used less by teens who find them harder to get? Imagine that.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Raymond

    Fred, you are ignorant. Go drink a beer. Trouble maker.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. StressWon

    In the history of mankind,,,NO ONE has died from marijuana consumption. It is not addictive. It does not cause any health problems. It even has been scientifically proven it slows down cancer cells. It is illegal because of hemp. In the early 1900s everyone was using hemp and it would of cost a fortune for the people who owned paper mills would of lost millions. Once again in America, lobbyists have manipulated the system and the sheep follow suit because God forbid anyone picks up a book and educates themselves.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Relevant

      DuPont was the company that finally won out and had Hemp banned. It was hurting their profits too much. In fact, there is no written evidence that using it as a drug was ever one of the concerns. It was all about hemp being used as an alternative to cotton and DuPont would not stand for that. Listing it as a Class 1 Narcotic was simply the easiest way to keep it banned once people started to do the research about the sustainability of hemp vs cotton. Once it became obvious that hemp was easier to use, costs less to work with and would last longer, it became all about those who would use it as a drug. We got so good at the whole Reefer Madness scam that everyone forgot about DuPont and the cotton industry. As is typically the case in this country, if you don't want people to see the truth, just distract them. We've now got at least 2 generations of Americans who believe that marijuana is illegal because it can get you high. As far as the cotton industry is concerned, it was about the most successful marketing campaign in history.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  21. ByYourOwnWords

    "Tobacco and alcohol cause more disability and death in this country than any other drug" yet, officials refuse to acknowledge this on their "war on everything" whose cost is forced on all of us whether we agree or not.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. CynicalOne

    Why would we push your BS pseudo-science on our kids. We know your science is crap, we remember you telling us that science proves people on marijuana jump of roofs, become raving monsters and become addicted to other drugs.

    On the other hand our observations shows that it's a much better alternative to alcohol.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medpotuser

      Not only is it a better alternative to alcohol but heavy pain meds as well. I'm currently prescribed OC for severe back pain. However, when I have the right kind of cannabis, I'm less inclined to take the pills. More people would be able to do this if it were readily available to the public as medicine. Instead, it's covered up with lies and b.s. so the gov't and BigPharma can stay nice and cozy in bed together.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  23. Mike

    We need Ron Paul!! Tax it regulate it and treat it like alcohol, which is far worse by the way.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. That's What's Up

    "Science shows it is addictive. Research shows it impairs driving. Studies show it can degrade academic performance." – sounds like they are describing the first time a young man discovers punani.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chuck

      This is one of THE funniest comments I've seen in a while. Good point though.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • redragon

      aaaahhh hahaha...

      December 14, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  25. palintwit

    Here in the Palin household we get high smoking feces.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Iconoclast

    End the drug war and put this kind of poison out of business. As far as I'm concerned it's the federal government that is directly responsible for creating the envronment where these "analog" drugs can thrive. End the drug war and eliminate the people greedy enough to promote "legal" death.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. jose

    studies do show that marijuana is addicting; studies also show that it is not addicting. kids turn to that k12-or-whatever crap because they are brainwashed into thinking that weed is horrible. it is not. lets be honest with these kids.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Rhymeskeema

    Trying to rob people of the natural mind-expanding experience of marijuana leads to this garbage.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nodule

    "Science shows it is addictive. Research shows it impairs driving. Studies show it can degrade academic performance."

    Hi, I'm alcohol. Have we met?

    Same nonsense yet it is legal.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. zee

    Weak-minded druggies will do what weak minded druggies do. There is no stopping it. drunks, or pot-heads all the same!

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

      And you are jsut plain weak-minded....

      December 14, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Breck

      You mean a weak minded druggie like Carl Sagan? Total pothead. Boy, that guy did nothing with his life!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Get a clue!

      "Drunks, pot-heads"? So what's your excuse?

      December 14, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  31. Andi

    Jennifer, I accidently hit 'post' & I'm not even high right now. But I'm guessing you are if you're seriously going to argue that "you can't hit someone in a car" while you're high. That your grammar is horrible while you're claiming to be educated is another indication that perhaps you shouldn't be smoking so much weed.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. killersense

    In response to Brittany's reply ; Only those with low intelligance to start with do dumb things on pot. The fact that 1 in 9 highschool kids use k2 just shows how dumb our children have become to begin with. Some people should not do certain drugs, especially those that make them even lower in the gene pool. MODERATION, and everything would be fine.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. joshb1234

    personally I think every drug should be legalized. The reason for this is because if it were legalized the government could put a price on them, they could make it to were the hard drugs are more expensive to get. I'm not saying i condone the use of drugs but if we can make it to were it cost more per gram people wouldn't go out and buy it nearly as much. It would also be harder for kids to get a hold of if we put an age limit on it. we just need to end the war on drugs.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. theLord

    I am so glad Merica has won the war on drugs. Look at all the money and lives you have saved! So many people are proud of the nation of clowns they call the USA because of their overwhelming success in the battle against the evil devil weed.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Shel

    The War on Drugs is a war on your freedom and your mind. Pass laws so they can get into your home, and keep you from having any experience that makes you question authority. And we pay billions a year for this priviledge.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. biggins

    This article is in fact BS! Do you know why synth mj is so popular? it's because real mj is STILL illegal! AND to ALL the prohibitionist/non-educated people out there, I'm sorry but the cat is out of the bag now. The synth mj can literally be made in thousands of different formulations (real mj contains over 200 known cannibinoids, and there are several synth cannibinoids out there for each one). There is no way drug tests could ever keep up with all the changes in formulation that occur DAILY! All the chemists have to do is add another inert molecule here or there and it's technically a completely different substance, and won't fall under any drug laws. Further, the police will not be able to confiscate "suspected" synth mj because there will not be field tests available to check to see if the type of synth mj present is currently on the banned list. So all of the problems with synth mj can be tied directly to ALL the fundamentalist/prohibitionists out there who refused to legalize mj before synth mj was developed. Now anyone can get high as balls and pass ANY DRUG TEST EVERY TIME! I know bc I've passed DOZENS of drug tests on synth mj. Actually thats why I switched from real mj to synth. And I've used for many years daily, have two masters degrees in engineering, have a high paying six figure job, and can still figure out anything and everything I need to. True, if you are of sub-par intelligence, or get started too young smoking, it can have a negative impact on your life. Other than that, it certainly does not! In fact I credit real mj for saving my life, works great if you are depressed! Also, not all synth mj is created equal. All I will say is that most brands use harsh/dangerous chemicals as "solvents" in the mfg process. If the company or person producing synth mj gets it from a reputable lab, and uses quality, certified organic ingredients, and a non-toxic, perfectly legal and clean solvent, the synth mj is almost better than the real mj, smokes much cleaner, much less tar, and takes much less to get a great buzz.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. farie710

    As someone who quit smoking cigarettes and doesn't like marijuana at all, I would have to say the effects of marijuana differ from person to person. I know some people who smoke everyday who are more productive when smoking it than when they are not; however, at the same time I feel "everything in moderation" is a good statement for its use. There is a point at which using is abusing and it negatively affects your life.

    To those who use marijuana, just be safe. As long as you're safe and not hurting others I feel it is your buisness and not my own... just please don't smoke it around me.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. sincerely,

    i smoked this stuff for about a month off-and-on, and a handful of times it did really scary things to my heartbeat and blood flow... the last time it happened i was seriously frightened that i would have to go to the hospital. luckily, no. in retrospect, i should have stopped much sooner, but it's addictive as well. stay away from it! i only got into it because i was in the job market at the time and didn't want to smoke weed, but it's something i won't do again. stay natural

    December 14, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jbone

    This argument always cracks me up. It should be legalized, right? If it were then it would be taxed, so up goes the price. it would also be regulated, so down goes the supply and the variety. Limits would be placed on its potency, which would mean that many of you life long smokers would have to smoke 5 times as much to get the same feeling you get now. Do you really want it legalized?

    December 14, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      If it were legalized "smoked marijuana" would be less and less common if not completely gone. It would be distributed much like alcohol with marijuana drinks and foods. Also, the only people with any sort of tolerance like that which you mentioned are those that are abusing it and smoking it everyday all day.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
  40. Daniel

    Marijuana isn't that dangerous, but synthetic marijuana can be very dangerous. More and more people will use synthetic marijuana instead and many of those will face the health effects. It's in the best interest to legalize marijuana. And alot of people who do use it use it because it's illegal. It's the same concept why over 70% of people downtown in a college town are under 21.

    But of course when that happens, they'll change the #'s to say they got sick/killed using regular marijuana.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Get a clue!

    I notice there is no mention of the biggest killer going on in America. Its not pot, or synthetic pot, alcohol, or tobacco, its obesity. McDonalds makes billions of dollars serving us garbage they try so hard to convince us is healthy. Using a clown to encourage our children to eat unhealthy. Serving Happy Meals, which is the biggest oxymoron ever, to our children by offering a toy with the cheap garbage they stuff in the colorful box it comes in. And we're worried about MJ, booze and cigs? Why? Apparently diabetes is no big deal.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • timmy

      We worry about booze because it effects people other than the user.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Couldn't have said it better myself!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  42. Mary Jane

    I have using Marijuana for two decades. I love it. I enjoy it more as I age. The people of this country have already made the decision that marijuana or cannabis should be legal for recreational use. Americans have already moved on. Cannabis use has become main stream.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Weed Smokin Freak

    Weed is awesome. I routinely get high as a kite and drive my car into people. I've killed thousands and there's nothing you do about it. Who cares if weed is legalized? No one. We're going to smoke it regardless. I would rather it didn't become legal. The prices are fine and I can make a good cash business on the side that the IRS doesn't know about too. Keep the government out of something. Ahhhh.....doing some bong hits now and I plan on driving into a crowd of senior citizens later. Mwah, ha haahahahahahhahahahaahfa[p0hfuoehfiodhiopcawerhfocviawerhcvioawerhc!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Leaf on the Wind

    "Science shows it is addictive. Research shows it impairs driving. Studies show it can degrade academic performance."

    I agree with the second sentence, but most cannabis users do so at home. It's rare to use the stuff and then go out driving. But the first statement, that it's addictive, is patently false, and the last statement about degrading academic performance only applies to those who use a lot of cannabis on a daily basis. Occasional users have no such problems, as I am living proof.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. neo

    I suffer from Chronic back pain called Spinal Steinosis. I have use Marijuana for the past 2 years now, and I find it helps with my pain more than over the counter drugs or even stronger prescription drugs. I do it twice a day, since i dont drink, I find its like my glass of wine that other prefer to relax and take comfort. However i do not condone the use of it to children and students, since it does fry brain cells and can get you into trouble. But as a productive adult, I think it should be ok, and they should regulate it. futhermore; i would not recommend smoking it while driving, cause it does impair your judgement just like Alchohol or any drug for that matter.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • timmy

      "since it does fry brain cells and can get you into trouble."

      Ummmm....show me a source that states MJ kils braincells. I believe that statement has been debunked as myth.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
  46. Johnny Salami

    The solution is obvious: shoot and kill every DEA agent.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jim

    Funny how the same people who are staunchly against legalization are also the people who don't believe in Global Warming? These people pick which science they want to believe in. Funny how we worry about a weed when someday our whole world will change because politicians didn't want to incur the costs of changing our energy infrastructure.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jbone

    It may not contain an addictive chemical but people get addicted to the feeling they get, just like anything else. It alters your state of mind, maybe makes you forget about the bad stuff fora while. You are addicted to the high you get not the drug itself. So I would say it is it is addictive.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. David

    This stuff has been illegal in Arkansas since 2010.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Weed Smokin Freak

      Great. Now can you work on making it illegal to marry your sister? Thanks..mmmk.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
  50. Good Try CNN

    I love it when the news tries to inform the public of the harm stated by the government talking heads and propogandists they site addiction, impaired driving, and educational decline. Well so does coffee, masturbation, alchohol, obeseity, laziness, texting. None of those are illegal except for texting while driving and drinking and driving for good reason

    December 14, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.