Youth and Young Adults

Use of impairing substances, including cannabis, is of particular concern when it comes to adolescents and young adults due to the potential impact on brain development. The previously mentioned Colorado report included these findings:

  • Frequent (weekly or more) cannabis use by adolescents and young adults is associated with impaired learning, memory, math and reading achievement, even 28 days after last use. These impairments increase with more frequent use.
  • Frequent use by adolescents is strongly associated with failure to graduate from high school.
  • Frequent use by adolescents and young adults is associated with not attaining a college degree.
  • For adolescents and young adults, daily or near-daily cannabis use is:
    • Strongly associated with developing a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia in adulthood.
    • Associated with an increased likelihood of developing suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide, compared to those who do not use.
    • Strongly associated with developing psychotic symptoms in adulthood, such as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusional beliefs.
  • Use of high THC concentration cannabis by adolescents and young adults is associated with the development of future mental health symptoms and disorders.
  • Starting cannabis use during adolescence or young adulthood is strongly associated with future cannabis addiction (cannabis use disorder).

For more detailed information about cannabis and health, we recommend visiting “Learn About Cannabis WA.”



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