This Research Report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is intended as a useful summary of what the most up-to-date science has to say about marijuana and its effects on those who use it at any age.
From 2007 to 2017, daily marijuana use was mostly steady among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.
In 2017, daily marijuana use for each grade was:
8th grade: 0.8%
10th grade: 2.9%
12th grade: 5.9%
71.0 percent of high school seniors do not view regular marijuana smoking as being harmful, but 64.7 percent say they disapprove of regular marijuana smoking.
Since 1992, there has been a significant decline in daily cigarette use among 12th graders, while the rate of daily marijuana use has increased. In its peak year (1997), daily cigarette use among 12th grades was 24.6 percent, compared to a rate of 4.2 percent in 2017. In its lowest year of use (1992), daily use of marijuana among 12th graders was 1.9 percent, compared to a rate of 5.9 percent in 2017.
Past-year misuse of Vicodin® among 12th graders has dropped dramatically in the past 15 years, from 9.6 percent in 2002 to 2.0 percent in 2017. So has misuse of all prescription opioids among 12th graders despite high opioid overdose rates among adults.
Past-year misuse of prescription/OTC drugs among 12th graders in 2017 were:
Opioids other than heroin: 4.2%
Cough/cold medicine: 3.2%
Past-year use of illicit drugs among 12th graders in 2017 were:
Synthetic cannabinoids*: 3.7%
MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly): 2.6%
Students Report Lowest Rates Since Start of the Survey
Across all grades, past-year use of heroin, methamphetamine, cigarettes, and synthetic cannabinoids* are at their lowest by many measures.
The combined 2013–2014 NSDUH data indicate that across the United States about 1 in 14 (7.22 percent) adolescents aged 12 to 17 used marijuana in the past month. This percentage corresponds to approximately 1.8 million adolescents using marijuana in the past month. Rates of adolescent past month marijuana use ranged from 4.98 percent in Alabama to 12.56 percent in Colorado. Of the 10 states with the highest rates of past month marijuana use among adolescents, 5 were in the Northeast (Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts), 4 were in the West (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska), and 1 was in the South (District of Columbia). 14 Of the 10 states with the lowest rates of marijuana use among adolescents, 5 were in the South (Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Mississippi), 4 were in the Midwest (Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and North Dakota), and 1 was in the West (Utah).
The combined 2013–2014 data indicate that about 5.9 million adolescents perceived great risk of harm from smoking marijuana once a month. This translates to about 1 in 4 adolescents (23.54 percent) perceiving a great risk of harm from monthly marijuana use. The perception of great risk from smoking marijuana once a month ranged from 15.72 percent in the District of Columbia to 32.75 percent in Utah. Of the 10 states with the lowest rates of perception of great risk from smoking marijuana once a month (i.e., states with fewer adolescents indicating there was a great risk of harm from monthly marijuana use), 5 were in the West (Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Nevada), 4 were in the Northeast (Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine), and 1 was in the South (District of Columbia). Of the 10 states with the highest rates of adolescent’s perception of great risk of harm from monthly marijuana use, 8 were in the South (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas), 1 was in the West (Utah), and 1 was in the Midwest (North Dakota).