Effects on the body
The brain will not fully develop until it is in its 20s. Regular use of marijuana in early life can lead to physiological changes in the reward center of the brain. These changes may persist into adulthood and affect mental health.
Like tobacco, smoking marijuana can damage the lungs. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same toxins as tobacco smoke, which increases the risk of lung disease.
Influence on the mind
Cannabis can affect:
Frequent use of cannabis is associated with anxiety, depression and suicide, especially for adolescents with a family history of mental illness.
Cannabis may also affect motivation to pursue educational and career goals. Studies have shown that young people who start using cannabis or regularly use cannabis before the age of 18 may be at higher risk:
The grades are getting worse and worse
Drop out of school
Unemployed or engaged in work with less sense of achievement in later life
Legal consequences of cannabis use
Young people who smoke cannabis must complete drug education or counselling and community services. This does not apply if they have medical marijuana identity cards recommended by currently qualified doctors or issued by valid counties.
How to identify whether young people smoke marijuana
Look for behavioral changes, such as:
Spending less time with friends
Loss of interest in sports or other favorite activities
Changes in performance and sleep habits
Young people affected by cannabis may:
Lack of coordination
Laugh for no reason
Red eyes and short-term memory loss
What if young people smoke marijuana
Keep calm. Overreaction can lead to rebellion, resentment or greater risk.
Talk about your concerns. Give a positive reason to stop smoking marijuana. Focus the conversation on solving problems.
Remind them of any ground rules you set previously or set new ground rules and consequences.
If necessary, seek help from adults you trust and resources in your community.
In the event of a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 for assistance.