Quitting can be hard, but you are not alone! Please reach out to a trusted adult at school or at home for help.
You can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) at any time to find drug treatment centers near you.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that "The fact that it’s legal* does not mean that it is safe. Using marijuana at an early age can lead to negative health consequences.
- Heavy marijuana use (daily or near-daily) can do damage to memory, learning, and attention, which can last a week or more after the last time someone used.
- Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm the baby, just like alcohol or tobacco.
- Marijuana use has been linked to anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, but scientists don’t yet know whether it directly causes these diseases.
- Smoking any product, including marijuana, can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system."
*Marijuana use of ANY kind is illegal for people under 21 years of age in Massachusetts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, marijuana can have many negative health effects.
Addiction - About 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6
Brain - Marijuana use directly affects the brain — specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time
Heart - Using marijuana makes the heart beat faster. It could also lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Lungs - Smoked marijuana, in any form, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels.
Mental health - Marijuana use, especially frequent (daily or near daily) use and use in high doses, can cause disorientation, and sometimes cause unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
Poisoning - Edibles, or food and drink products infused with marijuana and eaten, have some different risks than smoking marijuana, including a greater risk of poisoning.
Peer pressure, or feeling like you need to "join the crowd" in order to fit in, can be difficult to deal with! Some ideas for dealing with peer pressure are below:
- Blame your parents! - Use your parents' rules as an excuse to get out of a situation or say "no" when feeling pressured to join in on vaping or other behaviors that you do not feel comfortable with. Say something like, "my parents will never let me out of the house again if they find out I did that, and my parents always find out!".
- Choose friends who support you - Although it might feel like it sometimes, you are not the only one who does not want to give in to peer pressure. Choose friends who are like-minded and respect your choices and spend time with them instead of with people who pressure you to do things you are not comfotable with.
- Just say NO - Although it can be hard to do, it does get easier with practice. Try saying, "no, thanks", "no, I'm not into that sort of thing" or "thanks, but I can't".
- Stand up for others - Remember that is just as hard for others to resist peer pressure as it is for you, so if you see someone else being pressured, step in to stop the pressure or help get the person away from the situation by suggesting something that moves them away ("Let's go over there and say hi to Jerry.", or "Let's go watch the game." ).
The Centers for Disease Control provide the following information regarding "edibles":
"Because marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there are health risks associated with using marijuana regardless of the how it is used. Some of these negative effects include having difficulty thinking and problem-solving, having problems with memory, learning and maintaining attention and demonstrating impaired coordination. Additionally, frequent use can lead to becoming addicted to marijuana. However, some risks may differ by the way it is used.
"Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. Whereas, edibles, which take longer to digest, take longer to produce an effect. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster. This may lead to people consuming very high doses and result in negative effects like anxiety, paranoia and, in rare cases, an extreme psychotic reaction (e.g. delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation)."
Marijuana use of ANY kind is illegal for people under 21 years of age in Massachusetts.
Details regarding policies related to the use or posession of illicit drugs, including marijuana, can be found in the SHS Student Handboook - Code of Conduct, the Oak Middle School Student Handook - Code of Conduct, and the Sherwood Middle School Student Handbook - Substance Abuse Policy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering (e.g., psychoactive) compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering.”
In Massachusetts, marijuana is illegal for people under 21 years of age. Details about the Massachusetts law can be found here. Information from the CDC regarding the use of marijuana as medicine can be found here.
Marijuana can affect each person differently, depending on their biology, the plant’s potency, the form of the drug, and the combination of other drugs or alcohol. The effects of marijuana can be felt within minutes and can last up to a few hours, depending on the amount and form used.
The National Institute for Drug Abuse lists some common effects of marijuana use:
- Feeling relaxed, sleepy, or "high"
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Distorted perceptions and senses (sights, sounds, time, touch)
- Motor skill impairments (timing, coordination, reaction time)
- Memory, attention, and learning impairments
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and appetite
- Coughing or throat irritation
- Respiratory issues or lung injuries
According to the CDC, about one in ten marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to one in six.
Effects of drug use on the adolescent brain has been the focus of recent medical research. You can view a presentation by local expert, Dr. Ruth Potee, on The Physiology of Addiction here.
The topic of marijuana may seem difficult to avoid, but the most important thing is that you know the facts, your resources, and how to help yourself and those you love.
Some students may feel peer pressure to participate in certain activities and some situations may be difficult to navigate or avoid. There might be circumstances when you feel pressure because there are friends or people you admire involved. In these types of situations, it is important to remember that you have the right to make choices for yourself and your body. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, remember that you always have the right to leave, say no, or make up an excuse (such as blaming your parents).
Remember that you are not alone; many students are affected by drug use. Please reach out to a trusted adult if you have questions, need help, or think that a friend needs help.
Support at School
There are many people at school who are willing to listen and talk. Please reach out to a trusted adult at school if you need help. A list of school support resources can be found here. Information shared with school counselors and nurses will not be shared without your permission, unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or someone else.
Hotlines — Call & Text Support
If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves or others, please call 911 immediately. Describe the situation to the operator and find a trusted adult to help.
If you are having a non-emergency crisis, there are many resources available. Below is a list of some important numbers and resources to know about in case you find yourself or someone you know needing anonymous support.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
All states have quitlines with counselors who are trained specifically to help with drug dependency. You can call this number to connect directly to your state’s quitline. Hours of operation and services vary from state to state.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727, English and Español)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (English and Español)
For 24/7 free and confidential information and referrals in English and Spanish, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline.
Websites — Resources & Information
There are many resources about marijuana on the internet. Below are some dependable resources that you can rely on for information and support.
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens)
Get the latest information on what marijuana is and how it affects the brain and body.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)
The NIH's mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC has valuable information and public health resources, including health effects and statistics on marijuana use.
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