Marijuana use is legal in Colorado for those 21 and older, so kids may have questions about marijuana. It’s important to talk with your kids about marijuana early and often.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. It is usually smoked with a bong, pipe, joint or vaporizer. It can also be ingested in the form of edibles. THC, aka Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical in marijuana that makes the user feel “high”. Street names for marijuana include: blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, skunk, weed, hash, tea, chronic, loud.
Marijuana and the Developing Brain
Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have difficulty learning, memory issues, and have lower math and reading scores. The more marijuana youth use, the harder it may be for them to learn. These effects can last weeks after quitting. Using marijuana before the age of 25 can also affect brain development and especially in high doses, can cause temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations and paranoia) while the user is high.
Health Effects of Marijuana
In addition to its effects on the brain, marijuana has other health effects. Marijuana can damage your lungs. Marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, which are not healthy for lungs. People who smoke marijuana daily or near-daily may have a daily cough, bronchitis, mucus and wheezing. Marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke. Heavy marijuana smoking is strongly associated with tissue damage in the airways of your lungs.
Marijuana can also affect athletic performance and coordination. THC can interfere with reaction time and how someone experiences time and space. Using marijuana in any form will likely impair a teen’s ability to drive, play sports, or do other activities they enjoy.
Speak Now With Your Kids About Marijuana
Have a meaningful conversation with your child about marijuana use. Help them to identify healthy alternative activities that will positively impact their future, and help them develop a plan in case they are faced with a high pressure situation.
For more information on Marijuana in Colorado including laws and health effects, visit Good to Know Colorado and https://www.colorado.gov/marijuana.
Weed, pot, bud, grass, herb, Mary Jane, MJ, reefer, skunk, boom, gangster, chronic, ganja, dabs, trees, flowers, rigs, sap, globs, oil, 7:10, bhombs, torch, nails.
How it's used:
Smoked in joints, bongs, or through hollowed-out cigars called blunts. Also used in food.
Can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation, slowed reaction time, distorted sensory perception, impaired balance and coordination, increased heart rate and appetite, impaired learning memory, anxiety, panic attacks and psychosis. Health risks include cough, frequent respiratory infections, possible mental health decline and addiction.
While the health effects of marijuana use are still being studied, current evidence shows that marijuana use among youth is unsafe. It's good to know what risks come with retail marijuana.