Marijuana use and High School Students

Posted: Jan, 3rd 2019

ITI recently posted an online survey asking a commonly asked question.  Have most high school seniors tried marijuana? The poll numbers indicated 80% of people believed that to be a true statement and 20% said it was false. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)  By the time they graduate high school, about 45 percent of teens have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. The good news is that “most” high school seniors have not tried marijuana before graduating high school. The bad news is that current polls have indicated that the number or teens who feel marijuana is harmful is declining.  

Professionals suggest the best way to educate teens about marijuana is to give them the facts about drugs and also to explain that effects of marijuana on a growing and maturing brain can be very different than an adult brain. Some information for parents to share include, marijuana’s effects on the brain, body, and behavior.

Short-term effects (while using or right after using)

  • learning, attention, and memory problems
  • distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • poor coordination and motor skills
  • increased heart rate
  • anxiety, paranoia
  • psychosis (not common)

Effects that last longer than the short term (a few days) but may not be permanent

  • learning and memory problems
  • sleep problems

Long-term effects (effects of repeated use)

  • risk of marijuana addiction
  • long-term learning and memory problems
  • if heavy use begins during youth
  • risk for chronic cough, bronchitis
  • risk of schizophrenia in some people with higher genetic risk
  • in rare cases, risk of recurrent episodes of severe nausea and vomiting


Here is a list of resources for introducing facts and talking to children and teens about effects of marijuana.