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Marijuana Effects

Marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal substance in the United States. Science is catching up with its use and is revealing the potential for multiple negative outcomes. To learn more, click on each topic below. 

Brain Development
MJ and Mental Health

Mental Health

Many factors, such as the amount of drug consumed, the frequency of use, the potency (THC content) of and type of cannabis product, and a person’s age at first use have been shown to influence the relationship between cannabis use and mental health.


Depression and Anxiety

Some individuals use cannabis to self-medicate for depression and/or anxiety symptoms. However, frequent use, especially among adolescents can increase the risk of experiencing depression or anxiety.


Psychosis & Schizophrenia

Research has shown that cannabis use is associated with an increased risk for an earlier onset of psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia) in people with other risk factors, such as family history. Cannabis intoxication can also induce a temporary psychotic episode in some individuals, especially at high doses. Experiencing such an episode may be linked with a risk for later developing a psychotic disorder.

suicide risk.jpg

Suicide Risk

A Columbia University study has found that teens who use cannabis recreationally are two to four times as likely to develop psychiatric disorders, such as depression and suicidality, than teens who don’t use cannabis at all. 

Maternal Substance Use

Maternal Substance Use

Marijuana Use & Pregnancy: Know the Risks


Lower Birth Weight

Pregnant women using cannabis are at increased risk for low birth weight. Use during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters increase the likelihood of low birth weight.


Marijuana Use & Breastfeeding

Moderate amounts of THC are excreted in human breast milk. An infant can ingest about 0.8% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose in a single feeding. Infants exposed to THC through breast milk can have sedative effects, poor sucking as well as delayed growth. 


From the CDC

It is recommended that pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding not use marijuana.

Friends On A Walk

Older Adult Use

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) does not currently endorse general use of cannabis and cannabinoids for pain relief.” The Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anesthetists position that “the clinical use of cannabinoid products cannot be ethically recommended outside of a properly established and registered clinical trial environment, until high-quality evidence for specific indications is published.” 

Any perceived or real benefit of cannabis use may be outweighed by potential harm, especially in older adults:

  • There are known serious & potentially life-threatening drug interactions between cannabis (THC and/or CBD) and prescription drugs often prescribed to older adults.

  • Increased risk for falls or other injuries

  • Increased risk for impaired driving

  • Increased risk for unintentional higher dosing  

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