The national Monitoring the Future Study shows marijuana use among teens drifting slightly higher in recent years, though not enough to reach statistical significance.
More noteworthy is the drop in the proportion of adolescents who view marijuana use as risky. Perceived risk—the risk to the user that teenagers associate with a drug—has been a leading indicator of use, both for marijuana and other drugs, and it continued to decline in 2013 among teens. This could foretell future increases in marijuana use.
Listen to the Washington State Department of Health radio ad about youth and marijuana, narrated by Dr. Leslie Walker of Seattle Children's Hospital. (A Spanish version, narrated by Dr. Nathalia Jimenez, MD, is also available.)
The good news is that parents are the primary influence on adolescent behavior -- even if it may not always seem that way. Here are some resources that can help parents discuss the use of marijuana with their children.
Washington State Resources
A Parent's Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use
(Updated May 2014. Available in English and Spanish)
This booklet, produced by Seattle Children's Hospital and the UW Social Development Research Group, offers information, resources, and practical advice for parents about:
- The effects of marijuana on adolescent health,
- Techniques for talking to your child about marijuana,
- What to do and how to help if your child is using marijuana,
- The basics of the law in Washington state.
Marijuana: Know the Facts
This card from the Washington State Liquor Control Board
answers common questions and includes a section on "What Parents
(Available in Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese)
Washington State Healthy Youth Survey: Current Marijuana Use Statistics
Just how big a problem is teen marijuana use? This report on marijuana use for grades 6-12 from the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey (2012) provides information from local teens about common attitudes regarding marijuana risk, current rates of use rates, and the relationship between lower grades in school and marijuana use.
The ADAI Clearinghouse: Free marijuana materials | Pinterest | Facebook
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)'s Marijuana site.
Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know (March 2014)
Marijuana's Lasting Effects on the Brain (March 2014)
Preventing Drug Abuse among Children & Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide
for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders (2003)
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
A drug abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery resource, developed to help parents and caregivers effectively address alcohol and drug abuse with their teens and young adults. Includes a Parents Toll-Free Helpline: 1-855-DRUGFREE.
Facts for Families: Marijuana and Teens (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)
Information and links to additional resources about parents and prevention, effects of marijuana, medical marijuana for adolescents, and more.
Are you concerned your teen is using drugs or alcohol?
- Washington Recovery Helpline: Offers 24-hour confidential referral and help for substance abuse, problem gambling, and mental health for adults and teens in Washington state. The Helpline can assist family members in finding treatment centers for adults or teens, as well as provide information on community events and lectures that may be useful to parents. 1-866-789-1511
- SAMA Foundation: Non-profit organization based in Seattle with the goal of improving the management as well as the science of substance addiction, particularly in adolescents. 206-328-1719