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The Negative Impact of Teen Marijuana Use

The ongoing legalization and social acceptance of marijuana are leading to an increased prevalence of teen marijuana use, often overlooked due to perceived harmlessness.

However, during the critical developmental phase of adolescence, marijuana use can lead to serious cognitive impairments, lower academic performance, and an increased risk of mental health disorders.

Recognizing the problem early, fostering open dialogue with teenagers about potential risks, and seeking professional assistance when necessary, can all contribute to preventing the negative impacts of teen marijuana use.

In this article, we’re looking at the negative impact of teen cannabis use.

Teen Marijuana Use

The subject of teen marijuana use is growing increasingly important with the continued legalization of marijuana across various states and countries. While the discourse around marijuana has largely shifted to focus on its potential therapeutic benefits for certain conditions, it is essential to underscore the potential adverse effects, particularly when the user is in their teenage years.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed, or pot, is a psychoactive substance derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. The plant’s leaves and buds contain compounds known as cannabinoids, the most notable of which are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the ‘high’ or psychoactive effects of cannabis.

While cannabis use might appear benign, or even beneficial to some, research indicates that its use during adolescence, a critical period of brain development, can have long-lasting or possibly permanent adverse effects.

Impact on Cognitive Function

One of the most concerning impacts of teen marijuana use is its effect on cognitive functions. Several studies have shown that regular cannabis use in teens can lead to deficits in memory, learning, attention, and decision-making skills. The adolescent brain is still developing, and introducing substances like cannabis can alter this development.

Impact on Mental Health

The relationship between marijuana use and mental health is another crucial area of concern. Studies have linked adolescent cannabis use to a higher risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, later in life. The risk increases the earlier a teen begins using cannabis and the more frequently they use it.

Physical Health Risks

While the impact on mental health and cognitive function are substantial, the physical health risks associated with teen cannabis use cannot be underestimated. Frequent marijuana use can lead to respiratory problems, increased heart rate, and potential risk for heart attacks in individuals with heart disease.

Impact on Academics

Teen cannabis use has also been associated with poorer academic outcomes. This association is not surprising considering the effects on cognitive function. Students who use cannabis regularly tend to have lower grades and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school compared to their peers who do not use cannabis.

Impact on Life Trajectory

When considering the cognitive, mental health, physical health, and academic impacts collectively, it becomes apparent that teen cannabis use can significantly influence one’s life trajectory. The compounding effects of these factors can lead to lower life satisfaction, poorer achievement, and increased risk of substance use disorders in adulthood.

Navigating the Conversation Around Teen Cannabis Use

As a parent, understanding the impacts of teen cannabis use is just the first step. It is equally important to have open and honest conversations with your teenager about the potential consequences of cannabis use.

Remember, shaming or lecturing is not an effective approach. Instead, aim to foster an environment where your teen feels comfortable discussing these issues with you. Make sure to listen to their perspective and address any misconceptions they might have.

Seeking Professional Help

If you believe your teenager is struggling with marijuana use, it is important to seek professional help. Addiction specialists, like those at The Arrow House, can provide the necessary support and teen substance abuse treatment to address the underlying issues related to marijuana use.

At The Arrow House, our mission is to revitalize our youth and show them that recovery in all its forms is not only rewarding but meaningful. If you have concerns regarding teen marijuana use, do not hesitate to reach out at (657) 366-5191 or via email at


While the legal status and societal acceptance of marijuana are changing, the evidence of the negative impacts of teen cannabis use remains. This knowledge underscores the importance of educating teenagers about the potential risks and promoting healthier choices. Remember, the journey to recovery is never an easy decision nor a linear process, but with the right support and guidance, it is absolutely possible.

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