Changing perceptions of marijuana and synthetic marijuana

marijuana and syntheticsPerceived risk is studied as a metric in the annual Monitoring the Future survey. The survey asks U.S. 12th graders about seeing “great risk” in regularly using a particular illicit drug.

In the March issue of CESAR FAX, data is featured showing that high school students’ perception of risk associated with occasional marijuana use is declining while they increasingly perceive synthetic marijuana use as harmful. Since synthetic marijuana, also known as synthetic cannabinoids, was included in 2012, the perception of risk has risen from 33 percent to 39 percent in 2014. On the other hand, the perception of risk for occasional marijuana use has declined from 25 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2014.

“These findings are important because prior surveys have found marijuana use increases as perceived risk declines,” according to CESAR FAX.

Synthetic cannabinoids describes a wide spectrum of plant blends with chemical additives that produce a high similar to marijuana. The products are sold as “safe” with names like Spice, K2, and fake weed but negative physical effects include severe agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior and non-responsiveness.

CESAR FAX is published by the Center for Substance Abuse Research as a monthly, one-page overview of substance abuse news, trends and issues.

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