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Talking to Teens May Help Them Cut Back on Pot Smoking
Date:7/6/2011

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Brief, voluntary and non-judgmental conversations with teens about marijuana use may significantly reduce their use of the drug, according to a new study.

Researchers also found that a motivational approach to these discussions about marijuana was more effective than merely educating high school students on the health effects of the drug.

Marijuana is a common drug choice for teens around the world. In the United States alone, nearly one-third of high school students report smoking pot. Many of them do so because they don't realize the health consequences of using the drug, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

"It's not a risk-free drug," Denise Walker, co-director of the University of Washington's Innovative Programs Research Group, said in a university news release. "Lots of people who use it do so without problems. But there are others who use it regularly -- almost daily -- and want to stop but aren't sure how."

Complicating matters, the risks associated with marijuana use are greater for teenagers than adults, noted Walker. "Adolescence is a big developmental period for learning adult roles. Smoking marijuana regularly can impede development and school performance, and it sets kids up for other risky behaviors," she added.

The researchers found, however, that marijuana use among teens could be reduced significantly through direct and intimate talks. In conducting the study, published online in a recent issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, researchers met with 310 high school students to provide them with feedback -- not treatment -- on their regular marijuana use.

Each student had two, one-on-one meetings with health educators that lasted up to an hour and used either a motivational or an educational approach.

The students who attended the motivational meeting discussed how marijuana could be interfering with their
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