The Developing Brain

Since brain development is not complete until the age of 25, underage marijuana use can harm youth.1  The more marijuana youth use, the harder it may be for them to learn. Youth that use recreational marijuana regularly are more likely to have memory problems, lower math and reading scores, and a decline in school performance.2  These effects can last for weeks after quitting. 

Mental Health

Marijuana use has been linked with depression and anxiety among youth, and in some cases even psychosis.2,3 Marijuana is also addictive. It can also be harder to stop using marijuana if use begins at a young age. Youth who start using marijuana, tobacco, alcohol or other drugs may be more likely to continue using later in life.

For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use recreational marijuana. For any related concerns about youth using medical marijuana, please talk to your physician.

Accidental Ingestion

Children and pets easily confuse edible marijuana products with similar-looking candy and food. If accidentally consumed, marijuana products can cause severe sickness and overdose. 

If a child eats or drinks a marijuana product by accident, immediately call the poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222), call 911, or go to an emergency room right away.

If a pet eats or drinks marijuana by accident, call your veterinarian, emergency animal hospital, the Pet Poison Control Helpline (1-855-764-7661, charges may apply), or Animal Poison Control (1-888-426-4435, charges may apply).



1.  Jacobus, J., & Tapert, S. F. (2014). Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 20(13), 2186–2193. Retrieved July 2018 from:

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana and Public Health: What You Need to Know About Marijuana Use in Teens. Retrieved July 2018 from:

3.  Copeland, J., S. Rooke, and W. Swift, Changes in cannabis use among young people: impact on mental health. Curr Opin Psychiatry, 2013. 26(4): p. 325-329.

Last modified on 08/15/2023