Effects of Marijuana Use on Teenagers

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Statistics on Teenage Marijuana Use

Teenage use of marijuana is an uncomfortable subject for many. However, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2007; 26.6 million youths ages 12 and older used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. For more information on this study regarding drugs of abuse please visit www.samhsa.gov/ . These statistics demonstrate that we need to educate ourselves on what the the short term and long term effects of marijuana use on teens could be.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. The flowers, stems, seeds and leaves of this plant can be used. The active chemical is delta-9-tetragydrocannabinol or THC, which gives the user the euphoric effects or the “high” associated with use. The duration of effects depend on the part of the plant that is used, the amount used, and the route of administration.

Common Nick-Names

It is wise to educate ourselves on the street or slang names of these drugs. These listed are among the most popular:

  • weed
  • pot
  • grass
  • reefer
  • ganja
  • Mary Jane
  • smoke
  • herb

Route of Administration

There are different ways to consume marijuana. The most popular is by smoking it in a rolled cigarette often called a “joint” or “blunt” if a cigar casing is used. Another way of smoking marijuana is by using paraphernalia such as a “pipe” or “bong.” People also add it to food such as brownies or beverages such as teas.


It is wise to look at the effects of marijuana use. This information may be helpful in identification of someone who may be using as well as topics to discuss with a medical doctor or counselor. Drug abuse may increase the chances of the development of a drug induced mental health disorder and an addiction. These effects are a generalized list and should not be held as an absolute.

Possible Short-Term Effects:

  • Euphoria or “high”
  • Greater intensity of sensory perception
  • Time appears to slow down
  • Red-eyes
  • Heart rate increases
  • Inability to focus
  • Impaired memory and coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Sometimes Paranoia or Anxiety

Possible Long-Term Effects:

  • Due to the hundreds of additional chemicals in marijuana the user can develop lung illnesses, bronchitis, or cancers of mouth, throat or lungs
  • Changes in brain function such as memory, drive, perception, and emotions

What to Do

Education regarding marijuana and the effects of marijuana use is a proactive way of preventing use. If you suspect marijuana use by a teenager there is help available. There are self-help groups such as Al-Anon, Alateen and Narcotics Anonymous that are in your communities. There is also the option of Chemical Dependency Counseling or seeking medical advice from a family practitioner. The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service is available at https://csat.samhsa.gov/ or at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The bottom-line is that there is help available. Teenagers should not face these issues alone.

For more information visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

This post is part of the series: Teenagers: Drugs of Abuse

Teachers, Counselors or Parents STOP and read this series on teenagers and drugs commonly abused. Educate yourself on these drugs of abuse, short-term and long-term consequences of use and where to turn for help.

  1. Teenagers and Drugs: A Series on Substances
  2. Club Drugs: Teen Drugs of Abuse
  3. Information on Teenage Alcohol Abuse
  4. Effects of Marijuana Use on the Teenage Student
  5. Teens and Opiates: Educate Yourself!