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Cannabis & Youth

Concerned about your teen using cannabis?

As a parent or someone who cares for and is involved in the lives of teenagers, you might have questions and concerns about teens using cannabis.

Youth tend to see cannabis as a natural, harmless substance. Cannabis is illegal to possess if under 19 and it is illegal for someone to provide or sell cannabis to someone under 19. However, youth can currently access it easily and think “everyone is using it”. When you talk with teens about cannabis in an open and non-judgemental way they will be better able to make safer, more informed decisions about if or how they will use cannabis.

Find information in the sections below to help you know more about cannabis and how it can affect teens who choose to use it.

Regular use of cannabis during the teen years can harm the developing brain. Teens can reduce their risks by waiting as long as possible before beginning use – ideally until their mid-twenties when the brain is fully developed.

Mental Health, especially for people with a personal or family history of major mental illness

  • Psychosis and/or schizophrenia symptoms can be triggered with a one-time use, but usually linked to regular cannabis use.
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Dependence/Addiction

    Decision Making
  • Changes in perception of danger and ability to problem solve can impact decision making and increase risk taking behaviour.

Learning and Memory

  • Changes in perception, memory, judgment, and problem solving may reduce motivation and school performance.
Some teens will choose to use cannabis regardless of possible health risks, especially if they perceive or experience social or wellness benefits. Help your teen become aware of the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guideline (LRCUG) so they can decrease their risk of harm if they choose to use cannabis. Check out the LRCUG resource created by youth for youth: The Blunt Truth.

For more information about What Parents (and allies of youth) need to know about cannabis:
What Parents (and allies of youth) need to know about cannabis
If you or somebody you care about experiences difficulty controlling their use seek professional help. For resources in your community contact: Connex Drug and Alcohol Helpline.
These tools and resources are designed to support you in having conversations about cannabis with the young people in your life:

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