According to the most recent data from the national Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, the percentage of 12th grade students who perceive regular marijuana use to be a great risk continues to decrease. After peaking in the early 1990s, the perceived risk of physical or other harm from regular marijuana use decreased for a few years, and then leveled off for a decade before beginning to decline again in 2007. From 2005 to 2013, the percent of 12th graders seeing great risk from being a regular marijuana user has fallen from 58 percent to 40 percent. That is the lowest point since the record low of 35 percent in 1978.
Today, 1 in 15 (6.5%) of high school seniors is a daily or near-daily marijuana smoker. Another interesting finding this year is that of the 12th graders who say they have used marijuana in the past 12 months and live in a state that has passed medical marijuana laws, 34 percent say one of their sources for marijuana is another person’s medical marijuana prescription. And, 6 percent say they get it from their own prescription. It thus appears that state medical marijuana laws provide an additional avenue of accessibility to the drug for teens.
Percentage of U.S. 12th Grade Students Who Perceive a Great Risk of Harm (Physical or other) from Regular Marijuana Use, 1975-2013*
*This questions was “How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they smoke marijuana regularly?” The available responses were: 1) no risk, 2) slight risk, 3 moderate risk, 4) great risk, and 5: can’t say, drug unfamiliar.
SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR and ASAP from University of Michigan, “American Teens More Cautious About Using Synthetic Drugs,” Monitoring the Future National Press Release, December 18, 2013. Available online at http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/13data.html#2013data-drugs.