By Brianna Stack
It seems to me that marijuana is one of the drugs teens are most curious about. Movies glamorize marijuana use, like “Pineapple Express,” yet rarely do adults address it. Many users cite “facts” stating that smoking weed is less dangerous than cigarettes. We might believe these questionable statistics from unreliable resources because we have no real information to the contrary. Because marijuana use is still illegal in many states, adults don’t always address the risks, like they do with alcohol. And because teens don’t understand the dangers of marijuana, saying no to their peers may feel unnecessary.
Is Marijuana Use Prevalent In Teens?
On the other hand, curiosity does not mean all teens want to try marijuana; many will never try it. Two groups seem to smoke weed: those who drink and party on the weekends and “stoners” who occasionally come to school high, are super relaxed about everything, especially about school, and always reek of weed. Apart from these outlying groups, most high school students could care less about weed and don’t give it a second thought.
Unlike the rumored horror stories, weed is not pushed on unsuspecting “customers” in the bathrooms, and you don’t need to smoke it to be cool. Nevertheless, no one can deny its presence. Access is easy, and it is virtually stigma-free because most teens are blasé about marijuana use and don’t care who smokes and who doesn’t. This passive acceptance makes it easy for teens who already partake to continue to use.
Who’s Really Using Pot?
Even if recreational use is acceptable, many kids judge those who have succumbed to the numbing effects of weed. Those who smoke obsessively stop caring about schoolwork and the people around them. Friends get frustrated. At that point, friends will tell the user to knock it off. But recreational usage before that crisis point seems to be socially acceptable.
If you aren’t sure if your teen uses weed, they probably don’t. But you can probably ask your teen a few questions about their experience with and opinion about marijuana use. Most teens are fairly open to talking about it, especially with recent legalization. As a whole, we have a fairly nonchalant attitude toward weed and probably wouldn’t have a hard time talking to parents if the atmosphere was non-judgmental.