On January 1, 2016 marijuana will be available in New York State for some health conditions. Media coverage of locations of manufacturing facilities and dispensaries are already triggering confusion among adults and youth.
Parents and professionals need to be informed so they have the words to respond to teens’ questions and misperceptions and make it clear that marijuana use is unhealthy for teens. This is very important because as reported in the 2014 Monitoring the Future Study, even though the use of marijuana declined in 2014, perception of risk also declined. Almost 40 years of research has shown that decreased perception of harm precedes increased use of a drug. Therefore it is concerning that in 2014 the percentages of youth who believe regular marijuana use results in “great harm” physically or in other ways continued its long-term decline by 2.1 percentage points to 58.9% for 8th graders, 1.1 percentage points to 45.4% for 10th graders, and 3.4 percentage points to 36.1% for 12th graders. Now more than ever parents need to counteract this misperception and re-enforce that marijuana is not healthy for adolescents. (more…)