The Facts About Marijuana

Marijuana is not harmless. Know the facts:

  • 22.2 million (8.4%) people were current (past month) users of marijuana in 2014, making it the most used illicit drug.
  • Marijuana use was most prevalent among people age 18 to 25 (with 19.6% using it in the past month).
  • 7.4% of people aged 12 to 17 reported using marijuana.
  • A higher percentage of males (10.9%) used marijuana in the past month than females (6%).

If you care about the health and safety of Maine youth, you need to care about youth access to marijuana:

  • Although most Maine youth do not use marijuana, over 1/3 of high school students have used marijuana at least once and 22% have used within the last month.
  • 44% of Maine high school students believe there is no or little risk of harm to people who smoke marijuana regularly.
  • Last year marijuana was the substance for which Maine youth most often sought treatment for addiction. Out of the 537 substance abuse treatment admissions for youth under the age of 18, 67.6% (363) listed marijuana as their primary drug leading to admission, while 21% listed alcohol.

If you care about academic performance and the success of Maine youth, you need to care about youth marijuana use:

  • Marijuana can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.
  • Compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are twice as likely to drop out of high school.
  • Recent research based on a study of over 1,000 people shows that people who started smoking marijuana as teens and continued to use it heavily for years showed an average drop of 8 IQ points by age 38.
  • A New Zealand study showed associations between increasing levels of marijuana use at ages 14-21 and higher levels of social welfare dependence, higher unemployment, lower income and lower levels of academic degree attainment by age 25.
  • A US study showed poorer outcomes for chronic marijuana users in terms of education attainment, household income, and overall life satisfaction.

If you care about safety on Maine roads, you need to care about impaired driving:

  • Marijuana use, and its impairment of motor coordination and reaction time, doubles the risk of car crashes.
  • Cannabinoids, the drug class that includes marijuana, ranked as the number one drug found in Maine impaired driving cases (January 2009 - August 2011).
Are you interested in learning more about the legalization of marijuana? Curious about the impacts of marijuana use and what the data is telling us?

Dubbed the "quarterback" of the anti-drug movement, Dr. Kevin Sabet presented in York, Maine recently on the topic of marijuana legalization. Engaging and eye-opening, Dr. Sabet provides a wealth of information. Thank you to Choose To Be Healthy, a fellow local Healthy Maine Partnership and Drug Free Community, for bringing Dr. Sabet to Maine! It is worth watching!

Click here if you would like to hear more from Dr. Kevin Sabet?
  •    38.2% of Maine high school students have tried marijuana and most students who use marijuana also use other substances.
  • Marjiuana is 3 times more likely to lead to addition in adolescents than adults.
  • Using marijuana once a week or more can double a teen's risk of depression and anxiety as well as jeopardize academic and athletic performance.