PUBLIC OPINION > Teen Marijuana Use Is Not That Big of a Deal

News 2012/05/04 16:00:00
We've done polls on marijuana in the past, and typically voters give it the polling equivalent of a shrug. Even if they don't smoke it or condone it, it's not as dangerous as alcohol and not worth fussing over. But a recent survey shows teen marijuana use is on the rise -- nearly 10% of teens are smoking 20 times a month or more. No wonder it's California's biggest cash crop! Teen use can be scary, though, as the longterm effects of marijuana use on developing brains is still unclear, and bad habits can form in those early years. So we asked the public if the increase in teen use is cause for concern.

Again, the majority feels marijuana is just not that big of a deal. Even with teens, the sentiment seems to be, "Better weed than alcohol." The Top Opinion read, "Sure I would prefer they didn't do all of these things but when you look at the alternatives kids that want to get high really bad probably will, and if it's not marijuana it will probably be something dangerous." Yes, weed can be bad. It can be habit-forming, and it can glue you to the couch. But hey, at least they aren't drinking hand sanitizer.

Fluctuating Feelings

Teens themselves were exactly in-line with the overall vote -- exactly 41% are pretty concerned. As voters got a little bit older, in their early 20s, that number dipped to 29% concern. Then it worked its way back up to 57% as voters entered their 50s. Age definitely showed a pattern, but the change of heart was slow-turning, reversible, and not very passionate.

Reluctance From the Right

The two demographics that showed considerable resistance were Christians and conservatives, both coming in at about 65% concern. It's not that they think marijuana is going to destroy the youth, they're just reluctant to give it a green light. No pun intended. Plus, it's illegal, which certainly adds weight to the issue from a right-leaning perspective.

Shrug From the Smokers

As usual, smokers tend to back the marijuana users. Drinkers, too, though not as much. It would be silly to condemn the use of marijuana when you're indulging in a relatively risky substance yourself. As far as we know, like the Top Opinion said, tobacco and alcohol have more risk involved. You might be better off without it, but weed never killed anyone. Not officially, at least.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about teen marijuana use. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • wilsonmja 2012/05/05 01:05:53
    Conservatives crack me up. From a conservative you would likely hear "guns don't kill people, people do." I happen to agree with the sentiment behind that. However, I also believe that drugs don't ruin lives, people ruin lives. For some reason a conservative cant see how it's the same thing.

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  • yvonne.ey 2012/07/18 21:49:25
    It ALL depends on the people
  • beach bum 2012/06/14 12:04:38
    beach bum
    it is a big deal
  • JAKE~PWCM~JLA 2012/06/14 08:13:27
    It's still f*cking illegal.
  • Jorge Enriquez 2012/06/14 06:25:12
    Jorge Enriquez
    i dont use or i will never use..so no big deal...
  • Veritas 2012/06/14 01:35:46
    I think it is. My son "experimented" (until we busted him) and he did poorly in school during that time. He was falling asleep in class. If you getting high and falling asleep when you should be learning, it becomes a big deal.
  • BornToBeWild 2012/06/14 01:28:36
    Just as it shouldn't be since most teen deaths now are caused by home made drugs, texting while driving, and those booster drinks!
  • dahvievanity<3er 2012/06/14 01:26:39
    it is a big deal i know people that have paents that are drug adicts and they have been that way scence they were teens thay said and the dont have good jobs and cant mantain a steady sorce of income or take care of themselfs or their children very well
  • Jack's Pearl 2012/06/14 00:59:46
    Jack's Pearl
    Anyone who says its not dangerous is fooling themselves. And obviously uses and wants to condone that habit.
  • jackolantyrn356 2012/06/14 00:37:27
    Interesting when Teen Health is banned from legitimate discussion.
  • KarenInKenoshaWisconsin 2012/06/04 04:17:26
    The addictive types, well of course they have more contact with the drug dealers who sell other stuff too and of course they're more likely to try other drugs, in the first place.

    But we can't let what addicts do paint the entire picture for the rest of the nation, else we'd still have alcohol prohibition!

    Repeatedly, there's evidence to support that a keener societal focus on education and truly informed decisions brings about not just legalization of pot but an overall decrease in more careless drug abuse. http://norml.org/marijuana/pe...

    Conversely, the U.S. led the trend in criminalizing pot nationally and on the world stage but has record prescription drug abuse and statistics like the U.S. consumes about 80% of the world's Ritalan. Yet we have had and continue to have some of the worst drug war propaganda and related disinformation. Hmmmm...
  • Eddie 2012/06/04 03:09:09
    I'd rather see them smoking pot than drinking alcohol or doing hard drugs. Much less this new designer crap like bath salts. At least with just straight pot they aren't apt to end up with alcohol poisoning or being poisoned by bad chemistry. The worst thing getting too high will cause is a long nap and possibly a bit of vomiting brought on by vertigo.
  • John Galt jr or Ron/jon 2012/06/03 22:57:31
    John Galt jr or Ron/jon
    I tend to agree that ocasional use by a teenager would be no big deal...
    However a full blown teenage pothead, that is smoking two three times a day is heading for problems...
  • bob h. 2012/06/03 20:56:37
    bob h.
    This is a joke, right? Ever read the labels on what you eat?
  • John Hall 2012/06/03 20:25:50
    John Hall
    I would caution underage kids to be careful with any drug along with the adults marijuana isn't that bad I would still be smoking if it wasn't for drug testing at work .
  • Roblem BN-0 2012/06/03 19:55:39
    Roblem BN-0
    While I do fully believe all drugs should be legalized I do think adults should have the right to choose to use... not minors.
  • bob h. Roblem ... 2012/06/03 20:46:15
    bob h.
    Yeah, it's not safe like teenage driving or gun fairs.
  • Pat 2012/06/03 19:42:04
    I think a batch of brownies with a little hashish in them would help the GOP to "come, let us reason together." They are way too uptight right now and can't see anything but their own convoluted thinking.We could actually stop fighting and work together. I think relaxing the laws on marijuana would actually be a huge benefit to the entire country.
  • Ryoka∞Boy 2012/05/24 12:31:38
    On small doses,it's fine I suppose.
  • stephen 2012/05/23 03:19:47
    never heard of anyone overdosing on weed...and im a rightwing conservitive for the most part
  • Brynn 2012/05/15 12:29:21
  • onadeko adetutu,caleb unive... 2012/05/12 17:43:40
    onadeko adetutu,caleb university
    teen marijuana use on the rise is a dangerous trend, most teenagers that take marijuana dont know the side effects of the drug (ignorance) and those that do tend to turn deaf ears to it. Marijuana affects multiple parts of the body negatively,like the the lungs, brain, eyes, and genitals. .It also induces severe hallucinations and slows down brain waves, leading to severe mental retardation in mild cases.
  • Stoner onadeko... 2012/06/03 16:19:25
    your right does affect brain ...lol in a good way
  • bob h. onadeko... 2012/06/03 20:51:21
    bob h.
    So, who can doubt the world acclaimed Caleb University?
  • Lerro DeHazel 2012/05/11 21:03:15
    Lerro DeHazel
    Teens are NOT that big of a deal. Teens are not even close to what they once were. Teens now days suck.
  • Pat 2012/05/11 15:56:43
    I wish they would just legalize marijuana and be done with it. It's exactly what this country needs. We have way to many uptight, judgmental, bible thumping, radical people in this country and it's time for them to chill out so they can think clearly again. We ought to have this stuff available at every supermarket and drug store. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be mellow at the same time? We might even get something done.
  • Lindsey 2012/05/10 21:15:31
    I dont really have a problem with people who smoke pot. I think kids should definitly wait until they're older so they can make a proper decision, but its not a problem because teen marijuana use was considered a problem back in the 70's. So I dont think anything has really changed. Kids just have less respect nowadays, so more of them aren't making as much of an effort to hide it.
  • Gwen 2012/05/10 04:21:21
    Unless the government grows the mary ju anna it is not ok. Because they could put anything in there. They could put pcp in there.
  • Brynn Gwen 2012/05/15 12:31:03
    It's not hard to grow some in the closet. Seriously just look it up on YouTube.
  • meme14 2012/05/09 03:50:02
    I don't think it's that big of a deal. I wouldn't encourage it - but I wouldn't be beside myself if I found out my kid tried it. It's not like cocaine or herion where users rob and steal to get the drug and people don't overdose on it. It's generally just a phase and kids grow out of it once they decide they would rather be clear minded and it loses it's novelty. It might even be a good idea to legalize it and tax it maybe that would generate some revenue and something good could be done with the money. People are going to use it anyway.
  • bob h. meme14 2012/06/03 20:59:51
    bob h.
    And how many people on SH are clear minded. ?
  • KING 2012/05/09 02:47:23
    Smoking weed never hurt anyone but alcohol is the number one reason why these kids are overdosing or driving while under the influence. I would just say the parents should just inform them about it and try to educate them. In the end kids will be kids!!!!!!
  • Preside... KING 2012/05/18 02:26:41
    President Camacho
    driving under the influence of weed is more dangerous than alcohol...I know.
  • Dick Nixon 2012/05/09 01:37:17
    Dick Nixon
    There is nothing wrong with using weed but it does destroy short term memory or clouds up the cells in the brain that cause that problem with short term memory... So if teens want a good college education, they should wait until after they get a degree to use it. Could you imagine open heart surgery from a heart dr that used weed in college. OOPS I cut the wrong artery...
  • bob h. Dick Nixon 2012/06/03 21:02:41
    bob h.
    I guess we're lucky college kids don't smoke dope.
  • Dick Nixon bob h. 2012/06/07 06:47:18
    Dick Nixon
    You are not serious are you? I live by Purdue campus and the students get the most potent weed around... THEY SMOKE man..
  • bob h. Dick Nixon 2012/07/15 01:09:42
    bob h.
    Of Course, I'm not serious.
  • 214scifi 2012/05/09 01:06:38
    This is nothing new.
  • John Freeman 2012/05/08 23:43:18
    John Freeman
    I'm not a smoker or drug user at all, (and respectfully, I never plan to be) but honestly, weed is the least of our problems-



  • Preside... John Fr... 2012/05/18 02:28:26
    President Camacho
    lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer. Hypertension. yellow teeth. These are a few risks of marijuana.
  • bob h. Preside... 2012/06/03 21:05:36
    bob h.
    You're thinking tobacco. I've never heard of anyone smoking 40 spliffs a day.
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