The Science - Marijuana

Summary of the Science

How does marijuana affect youth?

Shifting attitudes and legal changes have changed perceptions about marijuana use, but the risks remain the same: impaired driving; academic, relationship, behavior and emotional issues; and increased likelihood of addiction or use of harder drugs. In August of 2019, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory about marijuana use and the developing brain. The advisory highlights the harms of frequent marijuana use during adolescence, including:

  • Changes in the brain that affect attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation
  • Impaired learning abilities
  • Declines in IQ, school performance, and life satisfaction
  • Increased rates of school absence and drop-out
  • Increased rates of suicide attempts
  • Increased risk of psychotic disorders
  • Greater likelihood of opioid misuse

As a result, the Surgeon General believes that, “Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability and highly potent forms, coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to attention.”

What does use look like in Texas?

Marijuana is the most frequently used illicit drug among Texas middle and high school students.

  • 22% of students say they have used marijuana at some point in their lifetimes.
  • 14% of students say they currently use marijuana.
  • 70% of students think marijuana is dangerous, which is lower than the percentage of students who believe alcohol and tobacco are dangerous (79% and 85%, respectively).