A green banner with the text "Marijuana Awareness"

A red banner with the text "FAQs"

A yellow banner with the text "Information & Facts"

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.

A green banner with the text "Effects"

Infographic: "Fast Facts on the Effects of Marijuana Use"


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.

A more complete list of effects and other details about marijuana use can be found here and here.

Infographic: "Specific Long Term Effects on the Brain"

A green banner with the text "Peer Pressure"

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.


A blue banner with the text "Resources & Support"

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.

While we strive to make the information on these pages as timely and accurate as possible, we cannot guarantee this at all times.  Any reference to any person, organization, activities, or products, or any links from this website to the website of another party, do not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of Shrewsbury Public Schools.

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.