Parents may hear that marijuana isn’t a dangerous drug. The reality is that regular marijuana use can permanently damage a teenager’s developing brain, impacting judgment, memory, and intelligence. Marijuana is more potent than it was 15 years ago, increasing the likelihood of addiction.
About 1 in 4 Cambridge high school students are current marijuana users, according to the 2014 Cambridge Teen Health Survey. Parents can keep their teens safe by talking with them about marijuana and setting boundaries.
Marijuana can have short-term and long term effects on a teenager’s health and developing brain.
Short-term effects: problems with memory and learning, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, anxiety
Long-term effects: Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day. Additional health effects of Marijuana include increased risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, and increases risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.
Want to learn more about marijuana? Check out Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.