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Why Do Teens Use Marijuana?

Young teen boy passed marijuana joint in hand.  

According to teen marijuana statistics, 22.2% of high school seniors used marijuana on a monthly basis in 2018, making this drug popular among teens. There are several reasons that teens may use marijuana, and, unfortunately for some, marijuana use can lead to addiction. In fact, 3.4% of 10th graders and 5.8% of 12th graders use marijuana daily, which is likely indicative of an addiction.

Common Reasons Teenagers Use Marijuana

If you’re wondering why teens use marijuana, you should know that there are several reasons. Some may use it to self-medicate, whereas others may use it simply to experiment. Common reasons for the use of marijuana include the following:

It’s Perceived as Safe

Some teenagers may feel that marijuana use is acceptable because they think it is a safe way to experiment with drugs. In fact, of all illegal drugs, teens view marijuana as being the least risky, and just 27% of high school seniors feel that using regularly is substantially risky. This may be because they feel that marijuana is natural and not addictive.

Peer Pressure

Teen peer pressure is also a common reason that teens use drugs, according to experts. If teens feel that all of their peers are using marijuana, they may also use it in order to fit in and find their place within a group of friends. Developing friendships is an important part of adolescence, so a teen whose friend group uses marijuana may feel compelled to use it in order to avoid rejection from the group.

Availability and Ease of Concealment

Another reason that teens use marijuana is that it is easy for them to obtain and hide. According to the most recent data, 65% of 10th graders and 80% of 12th graders state that marijuana would be easy for them to obtain. In addition, teen vaping has become more common, with 7.0% of 10th graders and 7.5% of 12th graders reporting that they vape marijuana monthly. It is easy to hide marijuana in the form of THC oil in a vape pen, so teens can avoid getting caught.

Boredom or Curiosity

Curiosity about drugs can lead to marijuana use for some teens, and because it is reportedly easy to obtain, marijuana is often a drug of choice for those looking to experiment. Experts explain that teens enjoy seeking new experiences, and for some, drug use is one such experience.

To Get High or Enhance Other Drugs

Some teens may use marijuana simply because they want to get high. Marijuana high effects include pleasant reactions such as euphoria, relaxation, laughter and heightened senses. Marijuana may also enhance the high associated with other drugs. One study found that teens who used marijuana to enhance the effects of other drugs were more likely to also use numerous other types of drugs. Marijuana use was also associated with weakening the effects of drugs like crack cocaine or amphetamines.

To Cope with Emotions

Marijuana abuse in adolescence may be a result of teens self-medicating with weed, as teens may use drugs to attempt to feel better when they are dealing with difficult emotions or mental health issues. Research shows that teens who regularly use marijuana report that they use the drug to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Marijuana may temporarily relieve feelings of sadness or distress, but over time, an addiction can develop, leaving teens feeling even worse.

Getting Help for Teen Addiction

Teens who use marijuana to cope with mental health issues or for other reasons may develop an addiction with continued use of the drug. If a teen is showing signs of addiction, such as giving up important activities like sports, getting into trouble with the law, struggling in school, stealing money for drugs and engaging in risky behavior, marijuana addiction treatment for teens may be necessary.

If a teen in your life is living with a marijuana addiction, Next Generation Village offers teen addiction treatment in a scenic lakeside setting. Call today to learn more about how we can help your teen begin on a journey toward a drug-free lifestyle.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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