Aug 22nd 2023
As of 2011, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug by adolescents in the US and it has been for almost 40 years. It is a drug that can have serious negative impacts on academic and social functioning for adolescents, not just during the teenage years, but extending into adult life. 
As of 2019, marijuana use has been growing steadily for the past few decades. Currently, adolescents are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco. 37% of high school students in the US were found to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime and 22% had used it in the past 30 days. Similarly, in the UK, it is estimated that between 20-30% of 17-year-olds have used marijuana within the past year. Due to the variety of adverse effects on cognitive development and links to other negative consequences, these statistics illustrate a current substantial social problem among adolescents. 
The increase in marijuana use by adolescents may be due to a myriad of factors, but the most prevalent, is the decrease in overall “perceived risk” of marijuana usage. In 1992, 80% of 17–18-year-olds in the US perceived marijuana use as a “great risk". 10 years later, only 45% of the same age group considered it a “great risk”. This dramatic decrease within a short period of time shows the change of cultural attitude and could explain the subsequent increase in use. 
Marijuana use can have an adverse effect on the health and wellbeing of a person of any age. However, adolescents are particularly at risk. The human brain is still actively developing during the teenage years and stopping only around 25 years of age. These developmental years help to create efficient neural pathways, allowing the individual to reach their optimal brain function. Using cannabis during this period can have a significant effect, causing substantial changes in the brain matter and creating long lasting negative effects on behaviour and cognitive function. 
Short term use of marijuana can lead to :
Long term use of marijuana increases the risks above but can also lead to significantly more problems :
There are a few common misconceptions about marijuana, leading many teenagers to believe that marijuana is safer than alcohol and other drugs. Increasing the conversation around marijuana and educating adolescents about the dangers of usage is a good way to decrease the number of teenagers using recreationally.
Below are three common myths and the reality :
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