Teenage marijuana use
Marijuana is the most commonly used substance among teenagers after alcohol. Young people who use marijuana can have health problems. Unfortunately, fewer teens believe that marijuana use is a threat than in the past. This belief can undermine prevention efforts.
How common is marijuana use among teens?
Current use and trends
Marijuana use is more common among teens than adults. In 2018, the following percentages of youth reported using marijuana at least once in the past month:
- 5% of Grade 8 students,
- 14% of Grade 10 students,
- 23% of Grade 12 students1, and
- 22% of college students and young adults.
In contrast to alcohol or tobacco use, current teenage marijuana use has increased over the past 10 years among grade 12 students. Current alcohol and cigarette use among grade 12 students has decreased by at least 10 percentage points (from 44% to 33% and 22% to 10%, respectively), while marijuana use has increased by four percentage points (from 19% to 23%).
What adolescents think about marijuana
Adolescents generally do not think that using marijuana is as risky as using other substances. This belief has grown steadily. When asked, “How likely do you think people are to harm themselves (physically or otherwise) if they smoke marijuana regularly,” less than one-third of high school students responded that there was a “great risk. Ten years ago, more than half of high school seniors (58%) thought it was a high risk.
However, marijuana use varies widely across the states and the opinions of youth aged 12 to 17 on the risks they face vary widely.
Parental control is needed to prevent marijuana use.