40% of High School Students Have Tried Marijuana

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A new study has found that some 40% of high school students have tried marijuana in their young lives -- 30% in the past year.

Deseret News reports on a study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine that said teens who smoke pot could suffer "significant neurological, psychosocial and health consequences."

"Adolescents who use marijuana regularly or heavily have higher levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms, suicidality and externalizing behaviors than non-users," said lead researcher Ty S. Schepis of the Department of Psychology at Texas State University. "Marijuana use is also associated with an increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms in a dose-dependent fashion and with an increased chance of the later development of depressive, bipolar or anxiety diagnoses."

The study primarily focused on gender differences in marijuana usage. Researchers found that while boys are more likely to use marijuana, girls move faster from casual use to regular use.

White girls were more likely to smoke than other races. Among boys, blacks were the most likely marijuana users.

The study shows kids with "A" averages were less likely to smoke, as were those in two-parent households.

Researchers noted that overall, boredom seems to lead teens to trying and then continuing to use marijuana.

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