As the dangers of smoking become ever so obvious (through television and radio commercials) the danger behind marijuana smoke has been less than evident. Health advocates are even more concerned after the passage of Amendment 64 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado. They believe that the law sends the wrong message to teens; specifically that marijuana is safer than tobacco.
A survey conducted by Monitoring the Future, a majority of teens believe that smoking tobacco is harmful, but nearly half of those surveyed believed that marijuana was harmless. Moreover, a third said they had tried it in the last year.
Health advocates cite studies indicating that marijuana has detrimental effects on a person’s ability to concentrate, retain information, and make decisions; three things that are fairly important for students who spend most of their days in school. A Duke University study found that teens who smoked marijuana regularly since their teen years had IQ scores that were eight points lower compared to those who did not.
Also researchers have found that marijuana can trigger psychotic episodes (especially when laced with other illicit drugs) and lead to long-term mental illness. In fact, a study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry found that people with mental illnesses were seven times more likely to smoke marijuana compared to people with no such illnesses.
Perhaps the most telling issue involved the specter of addiction. Drugfree.org found that more teenagers who check into rehab did so because of an addiction to marijuana. For these reasons, it is not surprising that law enforcement and social service agencies oppose recreational use as a measure of protection to prevent teens from using marijuana.
Source: TakePart.com, Turns out teen know smoking kills, but they don’t know jack about weed, April 10, 2013