The Dangers of Marijuana Use in Teens


Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with teens and young adults being some of the main user groups. Young people are drawn to smoking pot for many reasons, including easy access, social pressure from peers, anxiety, depression, escaping stress, boredom, and self-medicating for sleep issues. Rarely do young people realize that marijuana use is not completely harmless or its potential for addiction.

Declined Cognitive Abilities

As with most substances, the potential for harm increases with its frequency of use. If an adolescent is smoking marijuana daily, the likelihood for addiction increases tenfold compared with their peers who only use it occasionally. Yet another consequence of increased marijuana use is decreased cognitive functioning. Studies have found that frequent marijuana use may impair a young person’s memory, attention, inhibition control, and perceptual reasoning skills. 

Higher Likelihood for Addiction Down the Line

Marijuana wasn’t coined the “gateway drug” for nothing. Due to the lasting effects on a young person’s inhibition control, addiction is more likely in the future. The effects that frequent marijuana use has on the brain creates a greater risk factor for addiction later on, more so than alcohol use by teens. 

Rewiring the Brain

One of the main concerns of marijuana use for teens and young adults is their brains are still developing, and the THC in weed can disrupt the brain’s natural development. Marijuana significantly alters the structure of the brain’s reward centers and the habit-forming pathways in teens. The dopamine which floods the brain when you smoke marijuana affects your ability to process emotions and even makes it harder for you to empathize. This may sound appealing to the teenagers trying to briefly forget about their problems, but this can have several unintended effects. 

Although marijuana has long been lauded for not being addictive by nature, that is not truly the case. If you begin smoking marijuana as a teen, then you are at a greater risk of developing an addiction to marijuana than adults. Other factors like your mental health, frequency of use, and genetics also influence the likelihood of becoming addicted to marijuana.


Marijuana use by teenagers and young adults is not without risks to your mental acuity and well-being. It increases your chance of developing other forms of substance abuse down the road. If you or someone you know may be struggling with dependency on marijuana, contact Avalon Malibu. At Avalon, we offer a continuum of care to treat marijuana addiction. With an experienced staff of professionals, we will find the best treatment for your individual needs. Contact us today at (844) 857-5992.

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