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Health Consequences for Youth Using Non-Medical Marijuana

While we still have a lot to learn about the physical, emotional and mental consequences of underage non-medical marijuana use, we already know enough to know that it can be dangerous. It's important for you to learn some of the negative health impacts so that you can help young people understand some of the risks they could be taking by using marijuana.


Marijuana is addictive. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if you start at a young age. Youth who start using marijuana, alcohol or other drugs — even occasionally — may be more likely to continue using later in life.

Learning & Memory Loss

Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have difficulty learning, memory issues, and lower math and reading scores. The more marijuana youth use, the harder it may be for them to learn. And the effects can last weeks after quitting.

Lower Athletic Performance

Marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, which are not healthy for lungs. Marijuana can impact a teen’s ability to learn new skills, even weeks after they last used. Marijuana can also affect athletic performance and coordination.

Harms Brain Development

Brain development is not complete until about age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use non-medical marijuana.