Effects of Marijuana and How to Help

Tuesday March 21, 2023


Man smokes marijuana

(Adapted from Partnership to End Addiction) Monday began National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) – started by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it inspires meaningful conversations around youth substance use. We are honored to partner with NIDA to share facts around topics that are often steeped in misinformation and stigma. 

The majority of people who reach out to our helpline are concerned about marijuana. Today, we are answering some important questions related to the substance itself and how to talk to people in your life about marijuana. 

Why is it important to be informed about marijuana?

Nearly 30% of people who use it have a mild, moderate or severe form of marijuana use disorder.

  • Young people who use marijuana are 4 to 7 times more likely than adults to become addicted to marijuana; however, the longer teens and young adults delay use while their brains are developing, the less likely they are to develop a marijuana use disorder or addiction. 

What are the risks of using marijuana? 

Teens and young adults are among the most at risk to the harms of marijuana. Marijuana can affect people differently, but here are some common effects: 

  • Brain development can be negatively impacted, including decision-making and impulse control  
  • Anxiety and psychoses (how people view reality) can increase 
  • Attention, learning and memory can be negatively impacted 
  • Slower reaction time, can affect driving and increase injury risk  
  • Can lead to addiction

How do I talk to someone about marijuana? 

When connecting with someone in your life about marijuana, it’s important to remember: 

  • Not to lecture – listen and understand their perceptions of marijuana
  • Be clear about your position
  • Let them know that this is a health concern

Where can I go to learn more about marijuana basics, risks of use or protecting others from its harm?

Visit Partnership to End Addiction's Marijuana Resource Center.