Level Up: Youth Marijuana Prevention
As part of the Linn County Marijuana Task Force, Linn Together released the Level Up Youth Marijuana Prevention Campaign. Learn more about youth marijuana prevention in this article.
Marijuana use directly affects the parts of the brain responsible for decision-making, emotions, coordination and reaction time. In adolescents the brain is actively developing and will continue to develop until about age 25. Using marijuana during adolescence and early adulthood can harm the developing brain.
Marijuana and School Success
Youth who regularly use marijuana are more likely to have memory issues, difficulty learning, and lower math and reading scores.
The teen brain is actively developing and continues to develop until around age 25. Marijuana use directly affects the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time.
What are the long-term effects of marijuana on the brain?
Using marijuana before age 18 may affect how the brain builds connections for functions like attention, memory, and learning. Marijuana’s effects on attention, memory, and learning may last a long time or even be permanent, but more research is needed to fully understand these effects. Youth who use marijuana may not do as well in school and may have trouble remembering things.
- Research shows that marijuana use during teen years can harm the brain
- Compared with teens who do not use marijuana, teens who use marijuana are more likely to quit high school or not get a college degree.
Marijuana and Mental Health
Regular marijuana use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and suicide in teens.
The teen years are a time of growth, exploration, and risk-taking. Some risk-taking may foster identity development and independence (e.g., running for student council, asking someone out on a date). However, some risk behaviors—such as using marijuana—can have adverse effects on a teen’s health and well-being.
Increased risk of mental health issues
Marijuana use has been linked to a range of mental health problems, such as depression and social anxiety. People who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations, and paranoia) and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia (a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that aren’t there). The association between marijuana and schizophrenia is stronger in people who start using marijuana at an earlier age and use marijuana more frequently.
Marijuana use, especially frequently (daily or nearly daily) and in high doses, can cause disorientation and sometimes unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Marijuana use has been linked to depression, social anxiety and suicide.
Marijuana and Brain Health
Marijuana use directly affects the parts of the brain responsible for decision-making, emotions, coordination and reaction time.
In adolescents the brain is actively developing and will continue to develop until about age 25. Using marijuana during adolescence and early adulthood can harm the developing brain.
What are the short-term effects of marijuana on the brain?
Recent marijuana use (defined as within 24 hours) in youth and adults has an immediate impact on thinking, attention, memory, coordination, movement, and time perception.
About 3 of 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder. Some signs and symptoms of the disorder include trying to stop marijuana use but failing, or giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana. The risk of developing marijuana use disorder is higher in people who start using it during youth or adolescence and who use it more frequently.
Marijuana Talking Tips & Resources
Tips for Talking to Kids About Marijuana and other Drug Use
- Start the Conversation: Talk to your teen about the risks associated with marijuana and other drug use. Be your teen’s trusted resource.
- Listen: Stay calm and non-judgmental. When you allow youth to be heard, they’re more likely to hear what you have to say.
- Set Clear Rules: While you may think that your teen knows not to use marijuana, they may be tempted if it is offered to them. Youth with clear family rules about drug use are less likely to use marijuana than those without clear rules. Let them know your expectations and possible consequences.
- Focus on the Good: Encourage young people to make healthy decisions that help them achieve their goals. Remind youth that most of their peers choose not to use.
- Monitor: Ask Who? What? Where? When? Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends.
- Count It and Lock It Up: If you have alcohol, marijuana or other substances in your home that are prohibited to minors, track them and lock them up.
More Featured Resources
Resources and links about marijuana. Stay True to You Campaign Stay True to You is a youth marijuana and vape prevention campaign brought to you by the Oregon Health Authority. View their resources below: Stay True to You Website What’s True to You? Activities Find your passions and set your goals. Get started finding your…
Many youth today do not consider marijuana use a risky behavior. However, marijuana use comes with real risks that can impact a young person’s health and life. Today’s marijuana is stronger than ever before. In fact, the concentration of THC in marijuana has tripled in the last few decades. Marijuana Risks Addiction: People can and…
Information about how to talk with your teen about marijuana. Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)