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Marijuana use in teens

Marijuana is the most often used illegal drug in this country. It is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.

What are the street names/slang terms for Marijuana?

  • Aunt Mary, Boom, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Kif, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Weed.

How common is marijuana use among teens?

  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2005 Monitoring the Future Surveyreleased in December 2005, when asked if they had used marijuana in the past year, 12% of 8thgraders, 27% of 10th graders, and 34% of 12thgraders said yes.
  • The good news according to the same survey was that between 2001 and 2005, lifetime use of marijuana decreased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Since 2001, past year, past month and daily use among 8th and 10th graders also declined.

Does marijuana lead to the use of other drugs?

  • Marijuana is often the first illegal drug a person will try. Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana.

What are the short-term effects of marijuana use?

In low to moderate amounts the user typically report:

  • a feeling of well-being or euphoria
  • a dreamlike state or state of pleasant relaxation
  • an alteration of time and space perception
  • heightening of the senses (smell, hearing)
  • problems with memory, judgment
  • trouble with concentration
  • loss of motor coordination
  • increase in appetite

In larger amounts:

  • anxiety or paranoid thoughts

What are the long-term effects of marijuana use?

Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco and may be even more dangerous to the lungs than tobacco. Several studies have reported a higher than expected incidence of cancer of the tongue and lung in young adults who had used marijuana over a long period of time.

  • Several studies of regular users reported symptoms similar to symptoms found in heavy cigarette smokers, including laryngitis, cough, hoarseness and bronchitis.
  • Heavy or daily use of marijuana affects the parts of the brain that control memory and learning. The regular user will lose interest in school, work, relationships and other activities.
  • Animal and human studies have found that marijuana can alter the function of the immune system which protects the body against disease.

How can you tell if someone has been using marijuana?

A person may:

  •  seem dizzy and have trouble walking
  •  seem silly and giggly for no reason
  •  seem paranoid or anxious
  •  have very red, bloodshot eyes
  •  have a hard time remembering things that just happened

Can people become addicted to marijuana?

  • Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction in some people. You may have withdrawal symptoms, such as depressed feelings, trouble sleeping or nausea, when you stop using it.
  • In addition, some frequent, heavy marijuana users develop “tolerance” to its effects. This means they need larger and larger amounts of marijuana to get the same desired effects as they used to get from smaller amounts.


Drug Free AZ Program


Fact sheets and information on specific drugs for teens and adults


The Partnership for a Drug-free America


National Children’s Coalition

Alcohol and other drug information for teens