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 (603 Responses)
  1. Joey

    People are worried about marijuana all the while they give their kids speed so they can concentrate. Its a slap in the face to our education system. There are alot of really stupid people in this country.

    December 14, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • c s

      "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," . This says it all. If marijuana was legal, it could be regulated and some type of control upon its usage could be done. As long as it stays illegal, then the only recourse is criminal prosecution. It is kind of amazing that the good Doctor Volkow can make this statement and not see the irony in it.

      "Are we composed of those who have eyes but cannot see?" Sadly it seems to be very true.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • BRBSanDiego

      CS – California does not prosecute for having an ounce or less (I think it is an ounce). Basically you get a ticket that is paid by mail for $100.00. Why not spend the $40.00 to get a doctor's medical MJ prescription? BTW – I don't buy at the dispensaries at $20.00 a gram – I grow my own plants and with just a couple females get about 8-12 ounces per plant every two to three months. You can get online excellent seeds for about $2.00 each.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
    • joseline

      a lot of people do that in high schools even in middle school that is a bad example for people that are entering middle school or high school

      December 14, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
    • Totally

      Hear hear!

      December 15, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    If marijuana were legalized, how would they regulate driving while high? Is there a test to determine how high someone is? I know they can do a hair test, but that only shows that you've smoked it recently, not that you're high at the time. I know a lot of people say they can drive perfectly fine while high, but back in college, there were times I was so high I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs, let alone drive a car. And yes, I realize driving while drunk is also dangerous, but we actually have a good test to see how drunk someone is.

    December 14, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jimbo

      A new study shows there is less fatal accidents in states that have medical marijuana. See link to the TIME article.


      December 14, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      The standard field sobriety test is all that is needed to determine if a driver is impaired. The 'hair test' you refer to is totally discredited technology from the 80's. All it tells you is that at some point during the existence of any given strand of hair (anywhere from months to years depending on hour often you cut you hair), you were exposed to cannabinoid substances. It has no value in determining use within a certain time frame, or frequency or severity of use. It also generated more false positives than actual positives which is why it is no longer used in most cases where testing is required. A blood test can determine use within a month, but once again cannot pin it down exactly, and cannot determine level of intoxication.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Ask the Portugese if they have any problems

      December 14, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Jimbo, that study has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. Sure there are people who smoke so much that they can still drive after smoking because it doesn't affect them as much, but there is no question that for a lot of people, there is no way they should be operating a vehicle while high. I just haven't seen anything to convince me that we'd be able to prevent people who are too high to be driving from operating a vehicle, or at least have a way of punishing people who do.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      I've talked to cops before that say there are different methods to determining if someone is high, the ones I've heard of are saying the alphabet backwards (hard enough to do sober but I imagine that its more to gauge how someone handles saying the alphabet backwards more so than if they can actually do it or not) and also apparently by checking the tongue (supposedly green specks mean that someone has recently smoked). But neither of these tests can guage to what degree someone is stoned, only if they are or not. So regulating driving under the influence of marijuana wouldn't be the same as say a breathalizer test thats designed to test how drunk someone is to a certain degree.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      First of all in states that legalized medical marijuana fatal car crashes have declined by 9% on average. Partly because people smoke instead of drinking. Second you do a simple sobriety test. If they aren't impaired to the point of being a danger, then they go on their way. But anyone trying to compare driving drunk to driving stoned doesn't know what they're talking about. Some studies even suggest regular uses drive better while high, they tend to slow down and take less chances. Either way it doesn't matter. People have been high on weed long before it was illegal, it is the most used drug in this country. If there was going to be an epidemic of people causing carnage on the road ways it would have already happened. People are driving stoned all around you, you just don't notice them.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You don't hear about as many accidents caused by someone being high as you do about accidents caused by someone being drunk because a lot less people smoke weed than drink alcohol. If it is ever legalized, a lot more people would be smoking weed, and more people would be driving when they shouldn't be.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      What is this test to tell how drunk someone is? There are tests that can determine a level of alcohol in the blood, but that doesn't indicate the level of drunkenness. What is drunk for me, a one beer a week drinker, is significantly different than for my friends who appear to function perfectly fine with a fifth of vodka in them.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
    • Wilson

      The road sobriety test. It works equally well for drugs and alcohol.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • Damon

      Right on Wilson,

      People that are too intoxicated to drive can easily be caught in a road side test.
      There are many different tests that are used.

      Breathalyzers are only used because they are easy, the reality is a field sobriety test is more effective and determining a persons actual intoxication level.

      California has been training police to test drivers for drug / herb intoxication for over 30 years now, its not new.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • DEA Sux

      I would fear somebody driving with a hands free device much more than somebody who is stoned behind the wheel.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • rob

      so you're kind of implying that we need to babysit everyone and invade their privacy in order to save them from themselves? B.S. dude. If you can't tell someone is high by looking at them or by the way they are driving, then obvioulsy it's not impairing them that much. "drinking and driving is dangerous TOO" you say? like, as in, ALSO? Don't judge everyone else who wants to get high just because you were a totally irresponsible burnout as a teenager. Take care, cheese lips.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Yes their are instant tests that only require a cheek swab

      December 14, 2011 at 19:13 | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Impaired is impaired. If you are too impaired to drive, you are too impaired to pass the test, whether that's from weed, alcohol, K2, or crack.

      Most stoners, when they get that high, they avoid the road like the plague. If they do drive, they're the ones putting their breaks on a full block before the red light, and leaving their blinkers on for a long time and checking their blind spots a lot. And staying in the right lane.

      December 14, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse |
  3. Jimbo

    Yep during alcohol prohibition people were going blind drinking nasty alcohol since the actual stuff was not available, hmmm interesting how that happens.

    December 14, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. vivian

    The only sensible thing would be to legalize cannabis for adults. That would severely restrict access to kids through black market channels. Also, stop calling K2 "synthetic marijuana". It is NOT marijuana, it is nothing like marijuana, and the association it a propaganda tool to associate marijuana (cannabis) with dangerous chemicals. Legalize it for adults and youth use will drop just like with alcohol and tobacco.

    December 14, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Big Bob

      Agreed, when i was in school finding alcohol and cigarettes was difficult but if i was looking for pot i could literally call ANYONE i knew and find it within an hour

      December 14, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • martin

      well said .do you know that u.s. has a patent on med marijuana even though they claim it has no med use

      December 14, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • breezin'

      It has a similar chemical structure as marijuana, and it attaches to the same receptors in the brain (albeit with varying strength and duration). It is also metabolized in about the same way.

      December 14, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
  5. Jonathan

    1 in 9...oh man sound the alarm

    December 14, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joey

      That made me laugh

      December 14, 2011 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  6. ronjon

    When that car in my lane is coming at me at 18 mph – should I get out of the way or try to determine is the driver is on synthetic or natural pot? Question for the future I guess.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MMJPatient

      or drunk on legal alcohol?

      December 14, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • pad

      at 18 m.p.h, can't you just leisurely move out of the way?

      December 14, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
  7. Joy

    Why is everyone in a tizzy about pot? You should be upset about the rise of prescription pills! That stuff is addictive, not pot! Prescription pain pill has has opium (heroin) in it! Which is why your body becomes physically addicted to it, plus you body builds a tolerance to it. Ritalin has speed in it! And you are concerned about pot? Which is absolutely NOT addictive and can be use in the place of many prescription pills! How many people die of an overdose of pills? How many people die from smoking pot? Do the math.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Pgibson

    oh, author.

    "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."

    there's your reefer madness, right there. Quick – some do-gooder with more time on their hands than brains, go make this a class 1 felony to posess and send all the little grubby children to prison.

    It wouldn't surprise me. Drink some whine, lady, insist that it's not a drug.(it is as much as Marijuana is)

    They ought to make being FAT a crime, too, whiler you're at it. you can say the same of being FAT:

    "Make no mistake. Being FAT is 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 being FAT."

    Shove it, FATSO's.

    You;'re next to be turned into class 1 felons.

    where will we put all of you self-abusers, stoners and large, potato-shaped people that DESPERATELY need immediate help ?

    ( I'm being sarcastic and not very clever about it)

    December 14, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. John

    "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."

    ..... like what.

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

      Too serious to say, clearly.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
  10. cleve

    I've seen many lives ruined by the abuse of alcohol – by both functioning and non-functioning alcoholics. Drunk drivers kill so many innocent people. Stoned people eat too much and fall asleep. The only reason I strongly discourage my teens from using pot is that it is illegal, and getting caught will ruin their lives. The US government figured out how to get rich off alcohol sales – time to do the same with marijuana. I have a high stress executive position and I wish I could relax with a joint after a long, long day at work. But I'm supposed to have a couple of drinks instead. How hypocritical of our "leaders", when we all know that as soon as the Just Say No generation is out of power, pot will be legal, taxed and advertised.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DEA Sux

      Getting caught with pot is a class C misdemeanor in most parts, and you really have to have a lot on you to get into trouble.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
  11. Jonathan

    The drug war is a joke. As soon as this outdated still-living-in-the-80s Congress retires we can move forward.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. PJames

    While I know that most arguments against legalization or decriminalization are BSlet's assume that there is somevalidity to them. I've been using MJ regularly since 1965. I'm 67, hold a responsible, full time job (for over twenty years) supervising a group of professionals, and I've never had to take a day off because of my smoking. So I want this country to legalize MJ for those over 65. No taxes, no penalties. If it causes brain damage or physical harm, so what. Let me enjoy the time I have left without worrying about the policearresting me for possession. If anyone thinks that keeping it illegal interferes with availablility, WAKE UP!!!!

    December 14, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Joe C

    Drinking is addictive, drinking can impair driving, drinking can degrade academic performance. It is all a matter of not abusing it. How many people got hammered in college and still graduate with over a 3.0?

    What a terrible set of arguments to make against marijuana...

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

      I got hammered in college and graduated with a 3.3.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Liam

      I get stoned EVERY DAY at Stanford and have a 3.6

      December 14, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • pad

      re: Liam – I work at Stanford, perhaps we could schedule a "meeting" at Lake Lagunita ...

      December 14, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
  14. Sandy

    Just like proabition, you are not going to stop people from using it just because you outlaw it. What happens is they have to go to savory people to get it or use something worse like K2. Why can't this country just let adults make their own decisions about what they like. Where are our civil liberties anymore. This is becoming a police state in all 50 states. Thank goodness some states have at least legalized it for medical use.

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

    It is terribly Ironic that the same people who believe in the notion that Marijuana is harmful is typically the same people who believe that a God will wash away their sins. They choose to believe "research" and science when it suits their beliefs, yet denounce science when it infringes upon their religious beliefs. A little bit hypocritical if you ask me. Furthermore, the same people who usually associate Marijuana use have never tried it and won't because of stigma. This "evil incarnate" stigma has been associated with many behaviors all throughout history and we look back on them now and laugh. If you placed a person from the year 1,000 in front of a computer they would probably think it was evil too. Like any behavior it can be used for good, or bad. More people die at the hands of alcohol every year, in fact alcohol influences 50% of all domestic violence causes. When is the last time you heard of someone high beating someone? The more people condemn the usage of Marijuana the more young adults are going to search for alternatives that can be dangerous and more harmful.
    Oh, and I have a 4.0 at George Washington University. I have used Marijuana for a long time.

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

    Party on dude! Party on!
    But who's bringing the pizza and who's bringing the coconut cream pie?!

    December 14, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. tekstep1

    You want to know why kids move on to harder drugs? They try MJ and see that its not harmful; therefore, they begin to believe that they were lied to about ALL of the the other more harmful drugs. Stop lying about the effects of MJ, legalize it, and watch the overall drug use figures drop.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrSnow

      Yes, I studied the "slippery slope" fallacy in high school logic class too.

      December 14, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  18. Zig Zag

    I'm 52, attend church regularly, drink moderately, am father to two excellent students, happily married for 20 years, have 795 credit score, earn 100k and smoke K2 every single evening after the kids have gone to bed. This has been true for most of my life.
    Ive alwys been an anxious person and K2 relaxes me and even though I exercise regularly, I have trouble sleeping. Illegal pot fuels the drug cartels so I won't buy it, even if I knew where to get it.
    I've always felt that that a well-regulated marijauna industry manufacturing a product that has a standard amount of THC and dispensing it legally to adults at a very high (no pun intended) price would provide a great tax windfall for states and probably not change one thing about who is currently smoking it. To manufacture, package and distribute the product would be comparable to tobacco, so add several layers of restrictions and regulations and triple the cost. Still, dirt cheap. Tax the heck out of it so a pack of 20 cigaretts sells for $100 or something and you can imagine the windfall of revenue to the states.
    Some may try it if it's legal but, unless you need it to relax or for some medical reason, I'm not sure why you'd bother. Just getting stoned leads to nothing. It does reduce productivity and probably impairs at least your short-term memory. My wife and I do find it enhances our arousal and makes se x better. Sometimes makes movies more interesting too. Think Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

    Really the only barriers are the liquor industry and the drug cartels because they're the ones who really lose. All others in society gain.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply

      it would probably sell more like wine with different flavors and grades

      December 14, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
  19. MMJPatient

    There is no need for price gouging. The states are seeing a windfall of tax money with dispensaries selling an 1/8th oz for $25-45. Greed should not come into helping patients or legalizing something. The K2 (didn't know it's been around for almost your whole life) you smoke is a mixture of rubbish plants with no healing effects covered in an untested and unregulated chemical, if they plan to legalize that poison then yes $100 bucks for a small bag of that is right. Cannabis on the other hand is a completely natural remedy. Legalize it, tax it the appropriate amount, keep prices resonable for those who need it (cancer patients, vets w/ ptsd, people with severe pain) and also let the public choose for themselves than big brother Washington telling us what we should think.

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

    Anyone who doesn't think the number of people who smoke pot would increase if it became legal is crazy and probably high right now.

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

      I would rather people smoke than drink. If pot is legalized, the alcohol pushers are in for huge sales decreases

      December 14, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Damon

      Except for the fact that the rates of cannabis use in countries like the Netherlands are in fact quite a bit lower than the USA and Canada. Would it go up initially, absolutely, mostly due to people actually being willing to admit use. Long term it would stay fairly stable though because most people that don't use it currently would try it and move on. That combined with the fact that cannabis has a bit of rebel image and the black market doesn't ask for ID, take both those away and you will get somewhat of a drop of use among certain younger age groups. Writing this stone cold sober.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • rob

      anyone who is making statements like yours must have either a) never tried pot b) tried it once and got scared then formed your entire viewpoint based on that or c) you have no historical perspective on the matter. Thank you.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:49 | Report abuse |
    • rob

      ryan, anyone who is making statements like yours must have either a) never tried pot b) tried it once and got scared then formed your entire viewpoint based on that or c) you have no historical perspective on the matter. It's like someone defending alcohol prohibition!! Thank you.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
  21. zebwa

    I am a research scientist with a Ph.D. in physics; I've been doing government funded research for ~20 years. I have partaken of the wacky weed for most of my life, beginning as a teenager. Like so many I've known, I smoked when it was appropriate (mostly on weekends), and left it alone when it was not appropriate. It has been a good friend, providing relaxation and inspiration. This is the closest thing to a harmless drug you'll ever find, but like any mind-altering substance, it should not be used by children (or psychopaths). The worst thing it will do to an adult is get him or her busted. The fact that it's still illegal is evidence of how messed up our government is- laws are not made to protect citizens, but rather to keep power and wealth in the hands of the powerful and the wealthy.

    December 14, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Evan

    People in this country are to stupid to be able to handle the legalization of pot.

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

      So we should just toss the ones who are responsible users and intelligent productive members of society into the slammer for using? That's the alternative right?

      December 14, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • Liam

      *too. thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, stupid.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  23. MMJPatient

    "Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere." George Washington

    "Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country." Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

    "When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." Barack Obama quote on Marijuana

    "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana." Jimmy Carter, U.S. President

    "Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back porch, smoking hemp and gazing as far as the eye can see." Thomas Jefferson

    "Two of my favorite things are smoking hemp and playing my Hohner harmonica." Abraham Lincoln

    Just some quotes from founding fathers and presidents of this country regarding marijuana. I guess everyone who thinks marijuana does nothing but make you useless and ruin your future might want to do a little more research!!!

    December 14, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. lovenit

    All this Canabis talk makes me want a joint really bad! ;P Lighten up folks. My grandmother & grandfather smoke pot, even though they think we don't know, as well as my dad. It isn't going anywhere, never will. But the good ol' govt would rather send us all to the pen for having it for PERSONAL use!! Time to LEGALIZE & DECRIMINALIZE!!!!!

    December 14, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BobD

      I forgot what I was going to say! I'm still laughing though...must be the weed I grow in my basement here in Colorado. Term limits in Congress might help. Maybe then we could pass some laws that allow the use of pot.

      You are right about grandparents smoking weed. I'm 62 but without kids. All of my "old" friends smoke pot. Even some of them just started since they have met me and know where to get it. They also come to my house for green butter and my famous chocolate chip cookies!

      December 14, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  25. fuwia

    The only way to really tell if someone is high is with a standard sobriety test or just look to see if they have an orange color around their mouths and on thier hards from eatinig 7 bags of cheetos...............

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

      Or play them some cr@p music like Nickleback and if they like it they are definately NOT high.

      December 14, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      ...or show them a paulie shore movie. if they laugh, take away their keys

      December 14, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
  26. fuwia

    or check to see if they have a Justin "Beavis" or a medonna CD

    December 14, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Portland tony

    Just another group of bureaucrats trying to establish credibility before the budget axe falls.The ONDCP does travel around the country and talks about the evils of drug use, but mostly are bean counters and just try to justify their existence.

    December 14, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. BobD

    All of America needs a good chocolate chip cookie!

    December 14, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mad Cow

      Don't Bogart that green butter, my friend, pass it over to me-e-e-e-e.....!

      December 15, 2011 at 01:28 | Report abuse |
  29. MOJarry

    Bottom line: whether it's MJ, alcohol. speed, meth, heroin, coke, oxycontin, etc. the problem is self-worth. These drugs, all of them, are an escape from reality. Many find themselves in an unrewarding relationship, a mundane existence with a boring job, low income, and no self-worth. Drugs fulfill a need, but do nothing to resolve the real problem.

    December 14, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BobD

      You are so wrong!

      Where do you get your facts! I am a retired Airline Transport Rated pilot and FAA mechanic. I started smoking pot when I was 17. My wife smokes pot has a masters, makes $140K yr and still has friends in the fed gov. Her sister smokes pot and is a professor at Georgetown U. and works for the NIH. My mother-in-law has a PhD and is a member of the National Academy of Science. And we all smoke pot when we get together.

      You need a cookie!

      December 14, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • BRBSanDiego

      Mo Jo – wrong on most counts. People smoke or ingest MJ because it is relaxing after a dog eat dog day of working, commuting, dealing with kids, and just responding to daily nonsense in an American nightmare of hurry, rush, get it done, do it again, be in three places at one time life. Sure MJ is an escape, so what is wrong with that? Lots of things are escapes like music, sports, religion, food, alcohol, etc. I enjoy the MJ experience, sleep better, and wake up clear headed ready for another day on the American treadmill of insanity with time, productivity, butt head bosses, rude people, freeway mayhem, phone solicitations, door to door sales, inflation, et al. Vote for decriminalization in your state like 15 other states have done.

      December 14, 2011 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      BobD. I am also an ATP and don't drink, which is legal, and don't smoke pot. It's part of the job.
      I don't believe any part of your comment especially after reading some of your other comments.
      Just a Troll trying to get a rise out of people.

      December 14, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
  30. BobD

    The shrinks at the Veterans Administration hospitals can not prescribe pot (yet). But they can discuss the positive effects of the drug. This is your government talking!

    However, I'm not sure what the VA does when they find pot in your system. I have heard that they can limit the prescriptions they provide. Google it for more information.

    December 14, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BobD

      Google marijuana Va hospital

      December 14, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  31. B

    This argument always gets me. They say history repeats itself. Prohibition didn't work in the past and it's not really working now. When booze was outlawed folks made their own. Now, I don't know if people really went blind, or died, due to bad bathtub gin but I can probably say it wasn't as good as the real stuff. Thugs and gangsters made money on the black market due to the ban and the same goes on now-a-days. Ending the booze prohibition, though, also had it's problems. Now alcohol kills a lot of people a year due to many reasons but I can't help but to assume that it would do so anyway if it was still illegal. I guess my point is people will always look to get buzzed. Not all people though. I think if pot was legalized the same people would probably use it that use it now. Of course I'm sure there would a little margin of people who would try it just because they could do so legally but I don't think there would be a massive increase in users overall. I don't know how much money is poured into the 'war on drugs' but I'd bet it's a substantial amount. If the US legalized pot it wouldn't end the war on drugs but it would free up money and resources to fight the truly harmful drugs and perhaps free otherwise law abiding citizens who are incarcerated for only pot offenses. Rescheduling pot as a drug would even allow drug offenders to get rehabilitated instead of serving time in a prison or jail; which would also help in the big picture of society. I guess all in all what I'm trying to point out is obviously having pot illegal isn't really working. People will always be able to get their hands on it or, as this article points out, at least create the next best thing which is worse than the actual substance. This should be left up to the individual states to decided and not the government. There are 13 states that have regulated pot already and there's always ballots coming down the pipe both now and in the future. I am an active member of norml but I can see both sides of the argument. As long as these decisions are made due to scientific evidence and not personal agendas then we have to assume, whatever legal standpoint is chosen, is the right call.

    December 14, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DEA Sux

      Not just pot, LEGALIZE everything. There are so many other reasons why "drugs" are illegal. It has nothing to do with safety and children, and has everything to do with what the United States runs on, MONEY. I see the US has no problem taking in billions of dollars in taxes from those states who sell pot, somewhat hypocritical I might add.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • BobD

      Well said.

      There are billions of legal dollars made every year selling pot. It should be taxed and the taxes use to fight the real war on the hard drugs that are entering the USA. And put some money into education so we can compete with the rest of the world.

      BTW my neighbor is 76 years old and smoked his first joint with his girlfriend at my house and he came back for more a week later with a note from his doctor. I sold him some cookies.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • B

      @DEA Sux: I hear you. The hemp industry was screwed because of the invention of plastic if I remember correctly... Just another scheme for the big money making machine.

      December 14, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  32. BobD

    Most countries in this world will allow you to walk in to a pharmacy and by an antibiotic without a note from a doctor. Why doesn't the USA allow us? Why can't American's be trusted by the FDA to make a simple decision to buy a 10 cent drug?

    Drug companies don't want pot legalized.

    Legalizing pot is a money game with the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, doctors and the insurance companies.

    There isn't a drug on the market that has a many uses as pot.

    An example. Read about the drug companies and their research on Chanca Piedra. They refused to go to market with it and even made statements against it when the rest of the world was promoting it. It's all about money.

    There are legitimate drugs in South America that are used daily and the USA will not allow them to be imported because the drug companies won't make any money.

    BTW Chanca Piedra is a weed! It grows around the world. It lowers blood pressure, resolves (some issues) with liver problems, kidney problems, HIV and much more. And it has no side effects. Sounds like pot but doesn't make you high.

    December 14, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Joe

    The lack of critical review of the proposed 'facts' leaves me with little confidence in the editorial team. This is a propaganda piece, nothing more.

    December 14, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. James

    I have smoked pot off and on since I was 15 (I'm 46). Still here, still sane, never had any issues with pot until recently when I smoked a joint that had been sitting in the same container as synth pot. It was infused into the joint and It ended with a call to 911 because I thought I was going crazy. It caused a serious psychotic episode and I really wanted to be locked away in a padded room. It wasn't a pretty site. Quite embarrassing actually. Synthetic pot – bad. Natural pot – good. Enough already and legalize it. I've got in more trouble drinking than I have being stoned.

    December 14, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Handstands

    I know there are many people out there who truly believe that an individual cannot be successful in life and partake in smoking marijuana. Like anything else, it is about balance. Marijuana should be legal as it is a product of the earth and just because the government perceives that it has harmful effects does not mean it should be illegal. As many others have stated, alcohol and cigarettes are very harmful, far more so than marijuana. So is obesity and being abese isn't illegal. There are MANY harmful, legal compounds....

    To the person who sarcastically said 'I am a commercial pilot and fly 747s' and insinuated that the 'for marjiauna legalization' folk should support a high pilot – I smoke marijuana and I am a successful working adult who exercises, coaches and has a stable family life. I do not smoke marijuana while working so I would hope you take your job a bit more seriously than you describe. I would not want you to drink on the job either – do you use the 'can I get drunk and fly' argument to convince people that alcohol should be illegal?

    Bottom line – you cannot generalize all marijuana users as stoners or potheads that fit into the stereotypical image of a lazy, unmotivated teenager. You cannot generalize all alcohol users as drunks who fall into walls and start fights. You simply cannot generalize ALL people based on your personal opinion of a substance. To all those who have assumed I am an uneducated, lazy, unmotivated teenager – I am not. I am a hard working middle aged woman with goals, post secondary education and hobbies. Yes, I smoke marijauna to relax at appropriate times. No one should have a problem with this IF it doesn't harm anyone or anything (no I don't drive on it, yes, I keep it to myself, no I don't sell it to children....).


    December 14, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. J

    All you idiot pot smokers trying to push your agenda of legalization for the purpose of making it easier to aquire to aquire the catalyst of your addiction. Foolish and irrisponsible. Using one substance (alcohol) to further your case is juvinile at best. If what your smoking had any merit at all it should be considered only for it's positive effects. have any of you ever met someone who has a long history of pot use? They're difficult to be around. They're eyes only open half way. they constantly use the word "Dude". They believe the most important social issue of our time is the legalization of a substance that has destroyed them. they're paranoid and care more about the next high then they do about brushing they're teeth. Spend some time with a cronic pot head and then tell me that we need more of that. Don't argue this comment by regurgitating alcohol statistics or baseless studies of states that have legalized pharmacuetical marijuana. Those studies were done by a magazine. Ridiculous.

    December 14, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rob

      J, your little argument is pretty narrow and limited. You are using the same type of tactics as the "potheads" you are trying to slam. I know plenty of life long pot smokers who are nothing like your little stereotype. They are healthy, intelligent, well spoken, creative, cleanly, responsible citizens. Thanks for pooping out that little turd of ignorant bias for us all to see tho. It strengthens the case for pot. Go smoke a joint and relax.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • Spencer

      LOL. I'm not going to justify your narrow discrimatory mind with any real information because you obviously had a bad experiance with a "pot head" and are taking it out on everyone else. Enjoy your hatred and see where it gets you.

      December 14, 2011 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      J have you heard of the term LMAO.
      Thanks for a very entertaining rant

      December 14, 2011 at 21:03 | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      You should try smoking some and maybe it will improve your spelling.

      December 15, 2011 at 08:03 | Report abuse |
  37. rob

    Oh, and ryan: Those "studies" weren't really just done by some magazine. How about 10,000 years of worldwide usage with no credible or substantial record of negative impact on society as a whole? Hmmmmmm. Then look at the drugs we enshrine in this culture: booze, cigarettes, caffeine, prescription sleeping pills and others that potentially cause HORRENDOUS side effects. Do you think maybe it's kind of a con game?

    December 14, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      how about the brain damage, or the damage to reproductive organs caused by the use of pot? besides this article is about a syntetic form of pot that is far more dangerous, or were you too high to notice

      December 14, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "how about the brain damage, or the damage to reproductive organs caused by the use of pot?"

      Please site some reputable sources as to where you are getting your information. Just because you can write something on a blog doesnt mean it is true.

      December 15, 2011 at 07:21 | Report abuse |
  38. Andrew

    i'd like to see the full survey result information, what percentage of the population was polled, if its a poll of the country as a whol or just select areas, the standard deviation, etc.

    December 14, 2011 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Aaron

    All this synthetic stuff is really dangerous. The real pure natural grown stuff should be made legal and readily available to schools. I do agree that it should remain illegal for children under 12.

    December 14, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • timmy

      it should be a 21 and over drug, aaron. It should not be available for kids younger than that as their minds are still evolving.

      December 15, 2011 at 07:18 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Timmy, LMAO.
      You don't know sarcasm when you read it.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  40. BobD

    We allow the simple minded, church going freaks to tell he rest or the world what is right and what is wrong. Yet they haven't proven there is a god.

    These freaks would rather let a person die, then admit they are totally wrong (about anything),

    December 14, 2011 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. hattie

    First off, I would like to highlight how the article is praising lower cigarette and alcohol use, and highlighting that marijuana is addictive? Marijuana is NOT physically addictive, and has never been known to kill anyone by itself. Our focus should be on alcohol and cigarettes. Cigarettes ARE addictive and contain over 4000 chemicals and will kill over 50% of its users (6 million users, 600,000 non-users) due to consequences of use (World Health Organization's Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2011). I find it bizzare that it is legal, is known to kill you, and is the ONLY legal product sold that is known to harm its users and non-users. So you can smoke that grass, but not marijuana, which is okay for cancer patients?!

    December 14, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • timmy

      "and is the ONLY legal product sold that is known to harm its users and non-users"

      actually this statement is false....alcohol kills innocent non-users everyday in DUI accidents.

      December 15, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse |
    • hattie

      Timmy, thank you for pointing that out. However, yes, alcohol can kill others- but if you drink in front of me, I will not be harmed from your drinking unless, you get behind the wheel of a car, are reckless, or because of the user's actions. Tobacco on the other hand, regardless of me not smoking, will harm me and everyone that is exposed to second-hand smoke. Yes, many people die due to the recklessness of others. Tobacco kills non-users just by exposure and not by the users action (and yes, I'm sure plenty of stupid users have burnt places down, etc, so actions yes). 600,000 people die from exposure to second-hand smoke each year.

      December 15, 2011 at 09:06 | Report abuse |
  42. scott

    Hey Mr. Kerlikowski....I smoke weed every single day....I get straight A's in grad school, haven't had a ticket since I was 16 (27 now) and most importantly, I have very low stress levels....

    December 14, 2011 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Beeze

    i smoke weed every, and have not nor will i touch this crap...garbage...you pay for what you get....

    December 14, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • T3chsupport

      For the weight, I think you actually pay more for that K2 crap.

      December 14, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
  44. Mad Cow

    Wait until they find out smoking catnip and banana peels will get you high.

    December 15, 2011 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Beefburger

    "More than 11% admitted using it over the last year..." "One in nine 12th graders in America have used synthetic marijuana "

    Looks like somebody played hookie the day they were teaching how to convert decimals to percentages.

    December 15, 2011 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. malcolm kyle

    Many of us have now finally wised up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation, which is what we already do with alcohol & tobacco –two of our most dangerous mood altering substances. But for those of you whose ignorant minds traverse a fantasy plane of existence, you will no doubt remain sorely upset with any type of solution that does not seem to lead to the absurd and unattainable utopia of a drug free society.

    There is an irrefutable connection between drug prohibition and the crime, corruption, disease and death it causes. If you are not capable of understanding this connection, then maybe you're using something far stronger than the rest of us. Anybody 'halfway bright' and who's not psychologically challenged, should be capable of understanding, that it is not simply the demand for drugs that creates the mayhem; it is our refusal to let legal businesses meet that demand.

    No amount of money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safer; only an end to prohibition can do that. How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

    If you support prohibition you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

    If you support prohibition you've helped escalate the number of people on welfare who can't find employment due to their felony status.

    If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you've helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

    If you support prohibition you've helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    December 15, 2011 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Tk

    My 16 year old son was just expelled from school for the use of synthetic marijuana. he was not on school property when this was smoked. We had to stand in front of the school board and plead w them to no avail to allow him to stay in school. This was his first offense, with the senior staff and the police. A zero tolerance mentality has been implemented into our school. Instead of being able to discipline my son, we were forced to defend him. That is wrong. We all make stupid choices,. This could and will effect his whole life. It's just wrong. Our son is counciling, and I think he needs to be there. But just as important he needs to be in SCHOOL!

    December 15, 2011 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sherry

    I get stoned everyday and I keep a 3.5 GPA.

    December 15, 2011 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Katie

    Apparently 1 in 9 kids are extra stupid. At least smoke the real thing. It's a natural plant.

    December 15, 2011 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. mort

    the really horrible part of this is that so many of these kids will also smoke cigarettes. And that is disgusting.

    December 15, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spencer

      I would much rather smoke pot than cigarettes. To bad I don't get that choice. If I make the choice to smoke it has to be something proven to kill.

      December 15, 2011 at 22:08 | 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.