There are risks associated with cannabis use. The best way to protect your health is to avoid using cannabis or cannabis products completely.
It is also easier to be poisoned when ingesting (eating or drinking) cannabis compared to inhaling cannabis (smoking or vaping). This is because some of these products may be confused with similar non-cannabis products. It can also take much longer to feel the effects. The result is that people consume more before they feel the full effects.
The long-term risks of cannabis use
Avoid cannabis completely if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Substances in cannabis are transferred from the mother to child and can harm your unborn or newborn baby.
Experiencing a cannabis addiction can cause serious harm to your:
Cannabis affects the same biological system in the brain that is responsible for brain development. Footnote 11
The popularity of edibles also increases the chance of harmful reactions. Edibles take longer to digest and produce a high. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster, leading to dangerous results.
Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental.
Reports of Deaths Related to Vaping
Marijuana is the most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol. 1 Its use is widespread among young people. In 2018, more than 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in the past year. 1 According to the Monitoring the Future survey, rates of past year marijuana use among middle and high school students have remained steady, but the number of teens in 8th and 10th grades who say they use it daily has increased. With the growing popularity of vaping devices, teens have started vaping THC (the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high), with nearly 4% of 12th graders saying they vape THC daily. In addition, the number of young people who believe regular marijuana use is risky is decreasing. 2
Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some people, such as:
In another recent study on twins, those who used marijuana showed a significant decline in general knowledge and in verbal ability (equivalent to 4 IQ points) between the preteen years and early adulthood, but no predictable difference was found between twins when one used marijuana and the other didn’t. This suggests that the IQ decline in marijuana users may be caused by something other than marijuana, such as shared familial factors (e.g., genetics, family environment). 6 NIDA’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a major longitudinal study, is tracking a large sample of young Americans from late childhood to early adulthood to help clarify how and to what extent marijuana and other substances, alone and in combination, affect adolescent brain development. Read more about the ABCD study on our Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD Study) webpage.