WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Current -- and in some cases, rising -- levels of marijuana use by 8th, 10th and 12th graders are cause for concern, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.
Moreover, the misperception that marijuana is harmless continues to grow among teens, according to a report released by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
However, the report included some positive news, too.
"There are significant reductions in use for many drugs including illegal ones," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the survey. "Unfortunately, on the bad side, we are sustaining very high levels of marijuana use. At the same time the perception of the harm of marijuana use is at the lowest it's ever been -- this is concerning."
It is this perception that is driving the increasing use of marijuana, Volkow said. "This is despite the fact that using marijuana during adolescence is harmful to the human brain," she said.
In 2012, 6.5 percent of high school seniors said they smoked marijuana every day -- that's up from 5.1 percent in 2007, according to the report.
And almost 23 percent of these students said they had smoked marijuana in the month before the survey was done, and 36 percent admitted to smoking marijuana in the past year.
Among 10th graders, 3.5 percent said they smoked marijuana daily and 17 percent said they used the drug in the past month, while 28 percent used it in the past year, according to the survey.
Marijuana use goes up after 8th grade, the researchers found. Only 1.1 percent of 8th graders said they used it daily; 6.5 percent used it the past month and more than 11 percent used the drug in the past year, the investigators reported.
In addition, only about 42 percent of 8th graders said occasional marijuana use was harmful, while nearly 67 perce
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