The use of marijuana has become more prevalent among U.S. teenagers, even as they have cut down on cigarettes, binge drinking and using methamphetamines, according to a recently released national study.
Scientists who conducted the research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse speculated that the result may stem from the national debate over the possible medical use of marijuana, which may have made the drug seem safer to teenagers.
The government has used the study to call for intensifying the efforts against substance abuse.
"We must redouble our efforts to implement a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing and treating drug use," said Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also known as the White House drug czar, quoted by the Associated Press (AP).
However, there are those who argue in favor of legalizing marijuana, citing its medicinal properties such as helping to treat chronic pain and nausea.
According to ProCon.org, an online resource that aims to present controversial issues in a nonpartisan way, a total of 13 U.S. states, including Alaska, Montana and Rhode Island, have legalized medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Arizona and Maryland have favorable laws, such as allowing medical use defense in court, but have not legalized it.