One of the top three substances of youth misuse in Greater Lowell is marijuana. Marijuana is officially called cannabis, and is also referred to as “weed”, “grass”, and “pot”. Marijuana contains a mind-altering chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even though adult-use cannabis is now legal in Massachusetts for adults, 21+, it is still illegal for anyone under the age of 21.
Marijuana Health Risks
- Using marijuana can impact decision-making. You might do things that could result in injury.
- Marijuana can change the way things appear (your perception) and slow your reaction time, which may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
- Smoke hurts your lungs. When you smoke cannabis, you inhale toxins, irritants, and carcinogens like those found in tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. These symptoms generally improve when people quit smoking cannabis.
- Secondhand marijuana smoke contains THC and many of the same toxic compounds found in tobacco smoke. It could affect anyone who breathes it in, especially pregnant women, babies, and children.
- Smoking marijuana may increase your blood pressure, can raise your heart rate, and/or increase the risk of heart attack. If you smoke regularly over the long term, it can lead to heart disease.
- For more risks check, check out MoreAboutMJ.org.
Side Effects of Using Marijuana
Marijuana can sometimes cause the following side effects:
- Preoccupation with visual, taste and audio stimuli
- Trouble with memory and ability to focus
- Slower reaction times
- Increased appetite
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
Marijuana Misuse Prevention Tips for Parents
Before you talk with your kids, it’s good to know the facts. Find out about the Massachusetts marijuana laws, the effects marijuana can have on the health of your child, and some suggestions on ways to discuss marijuana.
- It is still against the law for youth under the age of 21 to use marijuana for non-medical reasons.
- Be a role model. Teens watch their parents. Your example helps to guide their choices.
- Teens are much less likely to use drugs when parents are involved in their lives. Listen when your child is taking. Take interest in their interests. Share experiences.
- Set clear rules with your child and follow through with consequences.
- Support your child. Teens who have support from a variety of adults are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
- Looking for more prevention tips? Check out the following websites: Massachusetts Department of Public Health and MoreAboutMJ.org.
- SAMHSA also has prevention tips for parents! Check out their latest brochure: Talk. They Hear You. Talking with Your Teen About Marijuana Keeping Your Kids Safe – Parent Brochure
Know the Laws
- You cannot use cannabis in any form – smoking, vaping, eating, or otherwise – in public or on federal land.
- Like alcohol, you cannot have an open container of any form of marijuana in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access.
- Employers, landlords, cities, and towns may have their own policies about the use of marijuana. Check with them to see what is allowed.
- You can have up to one ounce of marijuana on you and up to 10 ounces in your home. If you are growing cannabis, You can have up to six plants in your home and up to 12 plants for two or more adults.
- It is illegal to drive with marijuana across state lines.
- For more information, click HERE.
Looking for free educational resources? Check out the Mass Clearing House!