Marijuana

Image by Matthew Brodeur

According to SAMHSA, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S. Marijuana use is rising among all age groups, both sexes and pregnant women. The troubling fact is the perception of harm is decreasing in young people and adults. However, the research proves that there are real risks, especially for young people whose brains are still developing. 

Marijuana is stronger than ever and people can and do get addicted! 

About 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted.

When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6.

ALERT: Copycat packaging of marijuana edibles poses
risk to children, study says

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SOCIAL HOST LAW

The legal age for marijuana is 21 and like alcohol, adults are responsible for underage use in their home. In Connecticut, allowing anyone under the age of 21 to possess alcohol or marijuana in any dwelling unit or on private property is a criminal offense punishable by up to one year in jail for the person who owns or controls the property.

The person in control of the property does not need to be present, does not have to be aware of the drinking, nor do they have to be an adult for the fines to be incurred.

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HOW IT'S CONSUMED

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Smoking & Vaping

Marijuana extracts that are used in vaping products have a higher concentration of THC. Vaping is popular among teens. In fact Teen vaping of marijuana doubled between 2013 and 2020, according to a 2021 study.

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Edibles

Marijuana is being infused in a variety of things including cookies, brownies and gummy candies. People also drink it in tea. When eating or drinking marijuana, it's easy to not realize how much you have consumed because the effects aren't immediate.

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Extracts

Using marijuana extracts is referred to as "dabbing." They have very high amounts of THC and have sent people to the emergency room. They come in different forms including:
 

  • Hash oil or honey oil—a gooey liquid

  • Wax or budder—a soft solid with a texture like lip balm

  • Shatter—a hard, amber-colored solid

HEALTH EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA

What Does it Mean to
Overdose on Marijuana?

​While marijuana alone isn't associated with fatal overdoses like other substances, it is not harmless. The marijuana today is much more potent. Too much THC can cause:

  • Extreme confusion

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Panic

  • Fast heart rate

  • Delusions or hallucinations

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Severe nausea or vomiting
     

It can lead to unintentional injuries, such as car accidents, falls or poisoning if it's contaminated. It's particularly easy to overdoes on edible marijuana. Since it can take up to two hours to feel the effects of edibles, people often consume too much because they don't feel anything immediately.

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SHORT-TERM EFFECTS ON BRAIN

THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, causes:

 

  • Impaired thinking

  • Difficulty focusing​

  • Interfering with ability to learn and perform complex tasks

  • Difficulty forming new memories

LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON BRAIN
 

Long-term use of marijuana can cause:

 

  • Decrease of up to 8 IQ points, which can lower grades from A's to B's and C's. The points do not come back after stopping.
     

  • Increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Studies have linked marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide, and psychosis.

EFFECTS ON BODY
  • Marijuana smoking is associated with airway inflammation, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, and symptoms of chronic bronchitis.

  • Increased heart rate 

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Slow reaction time and impaired coordination causing difficulty with physical activity and driving

THC harms the brain, which isn't fully developed until age 25.

PREVENTION STARTS WITH A CONVERSATION

These guides can help you start the conversation with your child.
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Additional Resources

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FOR TEENS

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TREATMENT

Cannabis use disorder is a recognized condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The disorder is diagnosed when cannabis use is creating problems in a person's daily life. At least two of the following official criteria or symptoms occurring within a 12-month period indicate cannabis use disorder:

  • Continuing to use cannabis despite physical or psychological problems

  • Continuing to use cannabis despite social or relationship problems

  • Craving cannabis

  • Difficulty controlling or cutting down cannabis use

  • Giving up or reducing other activities in favor of cannabis

  • Problems at work, school, and home as a result of cannabis use

  • Spending a lot of time on cannabis use

  • Taking cannabis in high-risk situations

  • Taking more cannabis than was intended

  • Tolerance to cannabis

  • Withdrawal when discontinuing cannabis

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To find local treatment providers and support, visit The Hub.

IMPACT OF LEGALIZATION

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