Raising a healthy teen begins with having healthy conversations.

Being ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean It’s Ok

If young people are hearing that marijuana is fun and harmless because it’s natural, then they’re missing the facts. Marijuana contains over 400 different chemicals, is highly addictive, and is more potent today – with 300% more THC.

Marijuana contains up to four times the amount of tar as tobacco, and can wreak havoc on your teen’s brain development and future. Using marijuana can affect the amount of oxygen getting to their brain, can make it harder for teens to feel good when they aren’t using marijuana, and can impact their athletic, educational, or career opportunities.

Why Is Using Marijuana So Risky?

The teen years are considered to be the last golden opportunity for brain growth and development – second only to early childhood.

Using marijuana during teen years can significantly affect the brain’s oxygen levels, impacting how fast information travels through brain cells.

THC in marijuana mimics the neurotransmitter that makes the user feel good, reducing natural levels and making them feel anxious and depressed without marijuana.

What Can I Do as a Parent?

– Start talking to your young people on a continual basis – beginning when they’re in 5th or 6th grade – about the risks to their brains if they use marijuana.

–  Talk about the dangers of newly popular ‘edibles’ which contain high doses of THC. Being that the edible-induced high takes longer to take effect, teens may consume high quantities, quickly leading to a toxic overdose.

– Stress how using marijuana is illegal and can keep them from qualifying for college funding or pursuing the career of their choice. It can also mean losing their license, paying fines, performing community service, or attending educational classes.

Download facts and tips to talk with your teen about marijuana

3 Key Takeaways

  • Marijuana use affects the development of a young person’s prefrontal cortex – the last part of the brain to develop – that controls personality, decision-making, and social behavior.
  • During the teen years, their brains are creating a system of pathways that allows information to efficiently travel through brain cells – and marijuana interferes with this important development.
  • Early and heavy teen use of marijuana is associated with developing schizophrenia and with lowering IQ. It can also impact family relationships, causing fights with those close to them.

Good to Know – Teens who believe their parents think marijuana use is wrong are 46% less likely to use marijuana, according to a recent survey of 10th graders. Reduce your teen’s chance of using marijuana by talking to them about the current and future dangers.