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Talk to your kids about the dangers of pot. They'll be 50% less likely to use it.

About Marijuana (Cannabis)

Marijuana is a mixture of the dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa—the hemp plant. It can be green, brown, or gray. Stronger forms of the drug include sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah), hashish (“hash” for short), and hash oil. Of the 400 chemicals in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, is responsible for many of the drug’s psychotropic (mind-altering) effects. (Source: NIDA)

Marijuana is usually smoked through a joint, blunt, pipe, or bong, but it can also be cooked into foods. A product called the e-joint is also now on the market, which combines the concept of the e-cigarette with marijuana.

Teen marijuana use has clear links to unhealthy and risky behaviors, including unprotected, unplanned, unwanted sexual activity and STDs; impaired motor vehicle driving or riding with an impaired driver; involvement with the juvenile justice system; and poor academic performance and dropping out. (Source: 2010 Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association)

Teen use can also lead to stunted brain development and a potential IQ loss. The brain is not fully developed until ages 22-24 and can be more vulnerable to the effects of drugs and alcohol. The part of the brain to develop last is the prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision-making and moderating social behavior. (Source: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and National Academy of Sciences)

Dangers and Consequences Of Use

  • Stunted brain development
  • Potential IQ loss
  • Engagement in unhealthy, risky behaviors
  • Increased likelihood (2 to 5 times) of using other drugs or developing an addiction
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality changes
  • A loss of drive to engage in activities that were once rewarding
  • Impaired short-term memory, perception, and motor skills
  • Irritated lungs and worsening respiratory issues
  • Withdrawal effects including irritability, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and drug cravings

Warning Signs

Below are the warning signs of teen marijuana use. Parents should also look out for their teen’s sudden use of strong-scented candles or incense, or wearing clothes or putting up posters that promote marijuana.

  • Changes in behavior and mood changes
  • Worsening relationships with friends and family
  • Drop in academic performance and grades
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Skipping classes
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Losing interest in sports or other favorite activities
  • Changes in their peer group
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Getting into trouble at school or acting out

Street Names

  • Bud
  • Boom
  • Chronic
  • Gangster
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Herb
  • Kif
  • Mary Jane
  • MJ
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Skunk
  • Weed

Trends in Texas

Currently 20 states, not including Texas, have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Nationwide, the FDA has approved THC as a medicine that can help with nausea and appetite. Though marijuana is legal for adults in some states, it is not legal in any state for those under 21.

Marijuana remains the most widely used illegal drug among Texas youth. With some states legalizing marijuana for adults, many people fear that more teens will use it everywhere. Easier access and the misconception that it is safe are the biggest causes for concern. Almost 1 in 6 teens who use marijuana will become addicted to it.

In 2012, almost 2 percent of students grades 4–6 had ever used marijuana, with just over 1 percent reporting use in the past school year. About 26 percent of secondary school students reported using marijuana at some point in their lives, and 11 percent reported using it in the past month. (Source: 2012 Texas Drug Facts Among Youth, DSHS)

In 2011, 41 percent of Texas high school students in grades 9–12 had ever smoked marijuana. (Source: 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, CDC)

Get Help

Kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use them, yet only 20 percent report getting that benefit.

If you suspect your teen is using marijuana, the first step is to talk to him or her and get help if needed. Many resources are available to help parents identify substance use and learn effective ways to talk to their kids. Or, you can call the free hotline directly at 1-877-NO-DRUG (1-877-966-3784).