Youth and Marijuana

Healthy Aroostook

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.

Marijuana use has significant effects on teens and young adults. Marijuana use impairs the ability of a person to form new memories and to shift focus. It also binds to receptors in the brain disrupting balance and coordination. This leads to problems learning, working on complicated tasks, and driving. Marijuana use can also have a negative impact on athletics and other social activities.

Healthy Aroostook works to prevent youth marijuana use through increased education about the risks, and through interventions to reduce use.

Tips for Talking to Your Teen about Marijuana

  • 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 influence**.
  • Before you talk to your teen, make sure you speak their language. Check out the MaineParents.net 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
*According to the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.
** de la Flor, A. (2009) Early intervention can reduce marijuana use initiation among youth. CADCA National Coalition Institute’s Research into Action.