Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug among today’s young people. In Brookline, marijuana use is on the rise, a trend apparently fueled by the decriminalization of marijuana in Massachusetts.
Effects Marijuana use can lead to social, learning and behavioral problems. It impairs judgment, contributing to risky decision-making around sex, alcohol, criminal activity or driving. Teens who regularly use marijuana are at risk of short attention spans, decreased energy and ambition, reduced cognitive abilities, poor judgment, impaired communications skills and diminished effectiveness in social situations (“amotivational syndrome”).
Cognitive impact The developing teenage brain may be more vulnerable than most to the effects of marijuana. Marijuana use causes reduced concentration and ability to retain information, and is linked to lower grades in school and higher drop-out rates.
Mental health impact Its use by teens is linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia.
Parental disapproval is effective. In 2004, youths who believed that their parents would strongly disapprove of marijuana use had rates over 80 percent lower than those whose parents would not strongly disapprove (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA).
Readings & viewings
Special issue on marijuana
B-CASA Winter 2009
Our newsletter on Brookline teens’ attitudes & MA law
Teen brains and vulnerability to marijuana
New York Times
Consequences of early use
Tips for Teens: The Truth about Marijuana
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Free brochure for teens, useful for parents too
Effects, myths and mental health
Parents, The Anti-Drug
Equipping parents with the tools to raise drug-free kid
Kicking the habit: what approach works?
Evidence-based advice with a focus on marijuana