Marijuana Outpaces Cigarette Use Among High School Seniors

January 26th, 2011 | Sources: LA Times

Sixteen percent of eighth-graders reported using an illicit drug in the past year, an increase of 1.5% over the previous year, a recent national survey has found. The rise has been stoked by steady increases in marijuana use, which also increased among tenth and twelfth graders.

According to results from the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), the percent of eighth, tenth and twelfth graders who reported smoking the herb daily last year were 1.2%, 3.3% and 6.1%, respectively. That represented an across-the-board increase from 2009 figures, which were 1.0%, 2.8% and 5.2%, respectively.

The increases were associated with declining perceptions that smoking marijuana regularly is harmful. Among 10th graders surveyed in 2010 for example, 57.2% felt this practice was harmful. In 2009, 59.5% of 10th graders felt this way. In a related trend, the percentage of eighth graders that disapproved of smoking marijuana dropped significantly in 2010.

“These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and pre-teen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people at particular risk,” said Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in a press release. “Not only does marijuana affect learning, judgment, and motor skills, but research tells us that about 1 in 6 people who start using it as adolescents become addicted.”

Remarkably, more 12th-graders now smoke pot than cigarettes, the survey showed. Last year, 21.4% of high school seniors had used marijuana in the last month, compared with 19.2% that had smoked cigarettes.

After a string of years featuring marked declines in cigarette smoking among high school students, 2010 showed no further improvement, the survey showed.

The MTF survey also revealed a significant rise in reported use of MDMA, or Ecstasy, among high school students. In 2010, 2.4% of eighth-graders claimed to have used the drug within the last year, nearly double the rate of 1.3%in 2009. Among tenth graders, reported MDMA use within the last year was 4.7%, compared with 3.7% in 2009.

Prescription drug use continues at high levels, the study found. Vicodin abuse actually decreased from 9.7% to 8% last year in twelfth graders, although OxyContin use remained stable at 5.1% last year.

Surprisingly, binge drinking continued to trend lower among high school students, the study found, although to be clear, it remains at astronomically high levels. Among twelfth graders for example, 23.2% claimed to have had 5 or more drinks in a row within the past 2 weeks. That was less than the 25.2% who reported doing so in 2009, and substantially less than the peak of 31.5% in 1998.

The MTF is an annual survey of high school students conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Last year, 46,482 students from 396 public and private schools participated in the survey.



  1. Brandon | 26/01/11

    Claiming it’s bad for their mental capacity… It’s the prescription man made stuff that’s doing damage. Got to go and regulate the natural drugs so that nobody’s chillin’ without paying a sales tax 🙂

  2. Paris@Doctor weed | 1/05/11

    Wow, great article. Here I found lot’s of videos on how to grow indoor.

  3. Jay | 17/12/11

    It certainly seems that marijuana has become THE thing to do amongst the younger kids. Mainstream society seems to look at it like it’s a cute novel behavior with zero negative consequences. And, with all the sports and entertainment celebrities and “cool” politicians setting the example for the kids it’s no wonder the rate is rising. Hookah and the synthetic drugs will get even worse in the near future.

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