Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant.

What Are Some of the Effects of Marijuana?

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • breathing problems
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory
  • hallucinations and delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • psychosis (risk is highest with regular use of high potency Marijuana)

Marijuana Use in the United States

  • Marijuana use has increased since 2007. In 2018, more than 11.8 million young adults reported using Marijuana at least once.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly used psychotropic drug after Alcohol.
  • More than half of new illicit drug users begin with marijuana.
  • Marijuana use can lead to a substance use disorder, which can develop into an addiction in severe cases.
  • Recent data suggest that 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.
  • People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.

What is Medical Marijuana?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines medical marijuana as using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

Marijuana Laws in Connecticut

  • The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.
  • The state has medical marijuana laws enacted for certain qualifying conditions

Information provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Connecticut State Government.

Using Cannabis Responsibly

To learn more about Marijuana, including talking to your children, please contact Ingrid Gillespie, Director of Prevention.

Back to Prevention Overview