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More Talk, Less Marijuana Use

Illustration by Lydia Hess
Almost one-third of high-school students report smoking pot. And most high-school students say they have access to the drug. Denise Walker, co-director of the UW’s Innovative Programs Research Group in the School of Social Work, points out that marijuana is not a “risk-free drug. Many people use it without problems but there are others who want to stop and aren’t sure how.”

Walker is lead author on a study that shows a brief, voluntary chat with an adult led to a 20 percent decrease in marijuana use for teens who are frequent users. Walker and fellow researchers went to high-school classrooms in Seattle and gave short presentations describing myths and facts about the drug; common reasons why teens smoke it; and the resulting health and behavior consequences. Researchers took two interviewing approaches. One was motivational interviewing and the other was education. The motivational interviewing was the more effective at reducing drug use. The low-cost program could be used in schools to good effect, Walker says.

The study was published in the online June 20 edition of the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

3 Responses to More Talk, Less Marijuana Use

  1. Marilyn says:

    This looks interesting. I went online to read the article…it’s actually in the September issue (for those who are looking for it, the title is “Randomized controlled trial of motivational enhancement therapy with nontreatment-seeking adolescent cannabis users: A further test of the teen marijuana check-up.” The abstract says “Reductions in use and problems were sustained at 12 months, but there were no differences between MET (Motivational Enhancement Therapy) and EFC (Educational Feedback Control) interventions”.

  2. Terry says:

    Well Legalization and controls is the answer. As long as you keep it illegal the control is in the hands of the drug dealers and kingpins who also have hard drugs and think nothing about selling those drugs to kids. Marijuana is benign lets face it. If alcohol is legal so should be cannabis. But even worse is the fact we are making our Children criminal with these outragous laws. You know Marijuana Planet, really has the right take on this, they state: Stop making our children criminals. Build Schools not Prisons. We need to stop these laws against a plant. Time to legalize and regulate marijuana. Stop these lawmakers. Our Children are not criminals. A war on a plant is a war against God.

  3. Carol says:

    While this research may have practical applications, its selection for this issue, especially in view of current public and political debates on marijuana, does not appear to be value neutral. The number of young people harmed by chronic malnutrition or lack of medical benefits is greater by far. I hope that this publication will evaluate the research that is truly significant and of interest to the broadest readership possible.

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