Your body is a temple. Your brain a well-oiled machine. You’ll need both to be in top form if you’re going to pursue your interests and reach your goals. Marijuana, also called cannabis, pot, or weed, may alter your mind and body in ways that might make you feel and perform less than your best.


You can make lasting memories with the people who matter most. So don’t forget this: research shows that regular marijuana use can make remembering things more difficult. The more you use, the greater the risk, and these effects can last weeks after you’ve quit.

Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017.
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Brain Development

You can do anything you put your mind to. And since your brain is still developing into your 20s, you’ll want to take good care of it. Research suggests that using marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels while your brain is 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: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2012.
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Not-so-good Effects

You can be in control. You’ve got a good grip on reality. And the reality is using marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels can have not-so-good effects. These products can lead to hallucinations, unpredictable behavior, and poor decision-making that might put the user and others in harm’s way.

Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2014.
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You can get home safe, especially if you steer clear of marijuana. Studies show that using marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels may affect coordination and reaction times and is related to more and more fatal 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 on the road safe.

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

You can excel at the activities you love. If you want to perform at your peak, know this: marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels have been shown to hurt your performance on stage and in sports. These products may affect coordination, movement, and reflexes, impairing your ability to react quickly on the court, judge distance on the field, or nail a tricky instrumental solo. Plus, using these products might disqualify you from participating at all.

Source: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 2017.
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Learning and Grades

You can pass the test. Regular marijuana use has been shown to make it harder to learn, pay attention, and remember things. So if you’re trying to get your grades up, crush that quiz, or graduate on time, marijuana is more likely to get in the way. These side effects can last weeks after you’ve stopped.

Source: Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 2008.
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You can put yourself first. You aren’t controlled by anyone—or any substance. Marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels can be addictive no matter how they are consumed, whether vaped, smoked, or eaten. Research shows that you’re four times more likely to develop a dependence if you start using these products as a teen. Often, people who use these products heavily to treat irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety are actually experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Here in Washington state, most teens who get treatment for substance abuse report that marijuana is the main or only drug they use.

Source: Drug Alcohol Dependency Journal, 2008, And more.
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Mood and Mental Health

You can stay steady, even when times get tough. Marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels might make you feel depressed, anxious, and/or paranoid because of the way they interact with your brain chemistry. They can weaken your motivation and lead you to lose interest in all the awesome activities and hobbies you love. Some recent studies even suggest a link between these products and psychosis. If you are depressed or suicidal, call 1-866-TEENLINK or visit

Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2014.
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You can make the right calls. And the decision to use marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels may not be the best one for you. These products may affect your judgment, increasing your odds of doing something dangerous. You might get in the car with someone who is driving high, drive dangerously, or have unprotected sex, which may put you at risk for sexually transmitted infections or an unplanned pregnancy. Any of these things could have a lifelong impact for yourself or others.

Source: The Journal of Adolescent Health, 2009.
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Mixing Substances

You can spot a great match. Like Rachel and Ross or peanut butter and jelly. But using marijuana/cannabis products and alcohol at the same time is a bad combination. Together, they might cause reactions you didn’t expect, or the effects of one drug can be more powerful than the other. These effects could be physical (like nausea or vomiting) or psychological (like panic, anxiety, or paranoia).

Source: Alcohol Research, 2022.
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Lung Health

You can keep your lungs strong. In the short term, research has shown that smoking marijuana may impact your vital lung capacity (how much you can breathe in and oxygenate the blood). It also might 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, even 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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You can stay healthy. There’s a lot we’re still finding out about marijuana and cannabis products—including the ways these products could make someone sick. Some people who frequently use marijuana and other cannabis products with high THC levels could experience Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS). CHS is an illness that cause severe nausea and repeated vomiting. A hot shower or bath may help ease the symptoms temporarily, but currently the only cure for CHS is to stop using marijuana.

Additionally, vaping marijuana, nicotine, or flavors has been linked to hundreds of cases of a lung injury that has put some people in the hospital. What can this look like? The symptoms include nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, coughing, and fever.

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