Marijuana—also called cannabis, pot, or weed—can get in the way of you keeping your mind, body, and mood happy and healthy.

Memory and Learning

Now’s the time to focus on keeping your grades up, planning for the future, and making lasting memories with the people who matter most. So don’t forget, marijuana can make it more difficult for you to learn, pay attention, and remember things. And the more you use, the greater the risk, with side effects that can last for weeks, even after stopping use.

Source: NIDA, 2023.
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Brain Development

Did you know your brain develops all the way into your 20s? Using marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels while your brain is still growing can change your brain chemistry and have lasting effects on memory, learning, and intelligence. The long-term impacts of using these products are still being studied.

Source: NIDA, 2023.
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Studies show using marijuana can affect coordination and reaction time. It’s also responsible for an increasing number of crashes in Washington state, especially when mixed with other substances. High drivers can cause a crash, injure themselves and others, and even lose their driver’s license. Remember, riding with a sober driver is an important step you can take to keep yourself, your friends, and others safe.

Source: Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 2022.
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Sports and Performance

You work hard to perform at your best—on and off the field, court, or stage. Marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels can impair coordination, movement, and reflexes. Plus, using these products might disqualify you from participating at all.

Source: Addiction, 2022.
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Marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels can be addictive, no matter how they are consumed. Research shows that you’re four times more likely to develop a dependence if you start using these products as a teen. And just like with other drugs, people who use cannabis heavily can experience withdrawal symptoms, like irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety when they stop use. Most Washington state teens who get treatment for substance abuse report that marijuana is the main or only drug they use.

Source: CDC, 2020.
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Mood and Mental Health

We all go through ups and downs. When things get tough, remember, marijuana can amplify feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and/or paranoia because of the way it interacts with your brain chemistry. It can also lead to hallucinations, and some recent studies even suggest a link between products with high THC levels and psychosis. Marijuana can also make you less motivated and weaken your interest in doing the things you love.

If you’re struggling and need to talk, call 1-866-TEENLINK or visit

Source: Pharmacological Research, 2022.
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Marijuana can make it hard to keep a clear head—impairing judgment, decision-making, and even behavior. That could mean anything from saying things you normally wouldn’t to hurting the people you care about or getting in the car with a high driver.

Source: American Addiction Centers, 2024.
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Mixing Substances

Not everything is better together. Using marijuana or cannabis products and alcohol at the same time can cause dangerous reactions. These effects could be physical, like feeling nauseous or vomiting, or psychological, like panic, anxiety, or paranoia.

Source: Alcohol Research, 2022.
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Lung Health

In the short term, research has shown that smoking marijuana may impact your vital lung capacity—aka your ability to breathe in and get oxygen to your blood—as well as cause throat and lung irritation and coughing.

In 2020, the CDC reported that vaping is associated with nearly three thousand cases of lung injuries that have resulted in hospitalization and, in extreme cases, death. While more research needs to be done to know the long-term effects of smoking and vaping marijuana, there are plenty of reasons to quit now.

Learn more about the health effects of vaping.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020.
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We’re still learning about the long-term impacts of marijuana and cannabis products. For example, frequent use of marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels could lead to Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)—an illness that causes severe nausea and repeated vomiting. While a hot shower or bath may help ease the symptoms temporarily, the only known cure for CHS is to stop using marijuana.

Vaping—whether it’s marijuana, nicotine, or flavors—has its own risks, including being linked to hundreds of cases of a lung injury that has put some people in the hospital. This can also lead to symptoms like nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, coughing, and fever.

Source: NIDA, 2023.
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