Your Teen & Marijuana

Nearly 4 out of 10 students, grades 9-12, have tried marijuana.* Even if you don't think your child is experimenting, it's important to talk to them about the risks and consequences of marijuana use. Marijuana use changes teens' brains, bodies, and behaviors. Help Maine teens have safe, healthy and successful futures.

Key Messages for Parents about Marijuana and Tips for Talking to Your Teen

IMPAIRMENT: Marijuana use lowers teens' good judgment and self-control. This may lead to bad decisions and risky behavior.

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HEALTH: Your teen only has one brain and one body. Marijuana use damages both in a way that can make problems for them now and in the future.

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FUTURE SUCCESS: Marijuana use keeps teens from doing their best in school, work, and learning new skills. This affects them for the rest of their life.

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ADDICTION: Teens who use marijuana are at an increased risk for addiction which leads to health and safety risks.

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HARM: Marijuana is a harmful drug. It is stronger than in the past, contains dangerous chemicals, and can be laced with other drugs. Teens who use marijuana can't know for sure what they are putting into their bodies and how it will affect them.

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Reference List (PDF)

Tips for Talking to Your Teen about Marijuana

  1. Talk to your child about marijuana BEFORE you suspect they are experimenting. Studies show that youth are most likely to initiate marijuana use between the ages of 13 and 15 - and during this time you have the most influence over their behavior. After age 15, teens tend to base their decisions more on peer influence1.
  2. Before you talk to your teen, make sure you speak their language. Check out our teen room for insight into modern marijuana lingo and paraphernalia, and tips for recognizing the obvious and not-so-obvious signs of teen marijuana use.
  3. If you think your teen has been using marijuana, ask them about it immediately. Kids say that losing their parents' respect and trust are the most important reasons not to use drugs.
  4. Help your teen to understand ALL of the consequences of marijuana use - both physical and legal. In Maine, possession of less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana is a civil violation with a fine ranging from $350-$1000. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces is a misdemeanor or felony, and is punishable with jail time.

1. de la Flor, A. (2009) Early intervention can reduce marijuana use initiation among youth. CADCA National Coalition Institute's Research into Action.

* Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, 2011