Many teens have heard the health risks associated with abusing drugs, but what if they still think marijuana is safe? Studies have found that when teens think a drug is harmful, they are less likely to abuse it. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says perceived harm and disapproval of marijuana use has decreased among youth.

What do teens need to know about Marijuana?

  • There are over 420 chemicals in a cannabis plant, some of which are harmful
  • Marijuana does not cure cancer
  • Smoking marijuana deposits tar into the lungs, more than cigarettes
  • Marijuana use can trigger pre-existing mental health conditions such as schizophrenia
  • Marijuana affects the brain, specifically learning and memory
  • For some, marijuana leads to using other drugs
  • Marijuana is a plant, but not all plants promote health
  • Marijuana can be addictive

How and when do I discuss marijuana use with a young person?

The subject of marijuana use has become difficult to discuss as much of the information we hear is conflicting. It’s important to give truthful and balanced information about marijuana to youth.

Starting the conversation about marijuana when a child is between 8 and 12 years old lays the groundwork for more comfortable discussions as they age. If you have missed that window, it is never too late to start talking about marijuana. Open and honest conversations help young people feel valued.


National Institute on Drug Abuse, World Health Organization,

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