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Marijuana and Minors

Learn about the risks when youth use marijuana

Marijuana in 2020

Retail sale of marijuana has been legal in Michigan since late 2018--but legal for adults does not mean safe for teens. 

According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Study, marijuana is by far the number one drug abused by eighth and twelfth graders. People often think that substances found in nature are automatically safe, but plenty of harmful substances come straight from the earth. Strong evidence shows that using marijuana interferes with thinking and memory, and can lower IQ if youth smoke it regularly, setting them up for challenges later in life. 


The Teen Brain & Marijuana

 Why it's important that young people avoid using marijuana:

  1. Adolescence is an important  window of opportunity and sensitivity for the brain, with rapid brain connectivity occurring.
  2. How the brain is used during adolescence, and what it is exposed to, will have life-long effects.
  3. Due to the stage of brain development in adolescence, teens are more susceptible to the addictive effects of substance use.

Long-Term Impact

Studies have found that the earlier a young person begins using marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs, the more likely they will experience addiction as adults.

More Information

THC Content

THC Content

THC Content

  Marijuana has changed over time. Without regulations from government officials, the cannabis industry has developed marijuana and products with much higher concentrations of THC, the psychoactive component that causes addiction. 

The THC concentration in marijuana plants has increased three-fold between 1995 (4%) and 2014 (12% to 23%). Concentrated products, commonly known as dabs or waxes, are far more widely available today and may contain between 23.7% and 75.9% THC.


THC Content

THC Content

 Because there was initially no regulation on the edibles they have been made to look very similar to regular products that people consume such as chocolates, gummy bears, etc. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the accidental exposure and overdoses of young children who don't realize what they're eating. 

Pets can also get into marijuana, edibles, and other products,  which can cause difficulty walking, vomiting, trouble regulating body temperature, tremors, seizures and potentially coma. 


Future Consequences

Future Consequences

One of the first things that happens in states that have legalized marijuana is an increase in car accidents. Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. Studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability. 

Future Consequences

Future Consequences

Future Consequences

In nearly all states, employers can fire employees for being under the influence of marijuana at work, or for off-duty use. Employers may ask for pre-employment and/or random drug screening at any time. This includes government jobs, healthcare careers, insurance or real estate agent, and service positions that require driving.

How You Can Keep Teens Safe


Talk to Them About Risk

Especially the brain science behind your concern--give teens real info to make choices

Safely Store Marijuana Products

Lock up marijuana, edibles, and oils if you use them to remove access in your home.

Don't Use Marijuana Around Youth

Model healthy behavior and don't use marijuana in front of teens.   

Marijuana and the Young Brain



Surgeon General: Marijuana & the Developing Brain (pdf)


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