What You Need to Know About Marijuana
Legalization has brought marijuana into the open. That’s an opportunity to talk directly and honestly with your kids about it.
They should know about the harms and risks associated with using marijuana, as well as how any substance use affects their developing brains.
Marijuana Facts for Families
What is marijuana and how does it work in the body?
Just Because It’s Legal Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe
Today’s marijuana contains up to 10x the amount of THC — the chemical that gets you high. And higher doses of THC are more likely to lead young adults to develop:
Why is marijuana a problem in Arizona?
Higher Potency Means More Mental Health Problems
New studies show that young adults under the age of 25 were 3½ times more likely to attempt suicide when they used marijuana regularly.
And the risk of developing psychosis in that same group was 5 times higher. Psychosis is a break from reality that often involves seeing, hearing, and believing things that aren’t real. Marijuana-induced psychosis can be triggered by using large amounts of marijuana frequently.
If someone has an underlying or diagnosed mental health disorder and a co-occurring marijuana use disorder, they risk worsening the symptoms of the disorder.
Symptoms of mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, can be worsened with heavy and prolonged cannabis use. Individuals who have a predisposition for schizophrenia who use marijuana are 7 times more likely to have an onset of the mental illness.
“Using drugs—including marijuana— can negatively impact your brain development. It doesn’t matter what the state laws are for adults. Marijuana is dangerous (not to mention illegal) for teenagers.”
What can you do?
TALK with your child about NEVER consuming marijuana.
It’s never too early to have a conversation about marijuana and other drugs. The sooner you talk about the dangers of marijuana and substance use, the greater chance you have of influencing your child’s decisions about using them. Encourage your child to do their own research. LearnMoreAZ.org has information on marijuana tailored for teens.
MONITOR your child’s texts and social media.
Because substances, including marijuana, are being bought and sold through texting and social media sites, be sure to monitor where your children go online: ask about who they follow and what they are seeing and hearing online. Before allowing your child to go online and set up accounts consider having them sign a social media safety contract.
Get the FACTS on marijuana.
When you talk with your child, don’t leave out the details. Be specific about marijuana and the dangers of its use. Let your child know what effects it can have on their brain and body. Knowing that marijuana could be a serious health risk, a child may consider the consequences of trying it too risky.
Even if you don’t think your child would use marijuana, talking with them could be the reason they never do.
Sources: NIDA, CDC, SAMHSA