Marijuana

Quick Facts

  • Know the Law. Marijuana is an illegal substance. Depending on where you are caught, you could face a heavy-duty fine and jail time.
  • Get the facts right. You do not function normally and cannot do things which require concentration under the influence of marijuana.
  • Stay informed. Marijuana has been shown to lower sperm counts in men and increase the risk of infertility in women.
  • Be aware of the risks. Using drugs increases you risk of injury. Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, and suicide are all linked to drug use.
  • Keep your edge. Drug use can ruin your looks, make you depressed, and contribute to slipping grades.
  • Play it safe. One incident of drug use could make you do something that you will regret for a lifetime.
  • Do the smart thing. Using drugs puts your health, education, family ties, and social life at risk.
  • Get with the program. Doing drugs isn’t “in” anymore.
  • Face your problems. Using drugs won’t help you escape your problems, it will only create more.
  • Be a real friend. If you know someone with a drug problem, be a part of the solution. Urge your friend to get help.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States and tends to be the first illegal drug teens use. According to a 1992 survey of high school seniors, 22% had smoked marijuana sometime within the past year. Marijuana has several negative physical and mental effects. Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car.

The physical effects, particularly on developing adolescents, can be far more acute. Studies have shown that marijuana can lower testosterone levels in men. Testosterone controls hair and beard growth, development of the penis, muscle mass, and voice changes at puberty. Marijuana use can also lower sperm counts possibly resulting in difficulty having children. Females who use marijuana can, over time, increase levels of testosterone which can result in increased facial and body hair and acne. Studies also suggest that chronic use of marijuana may adversely affect reproductive functioning in women.

What are the short-term effects of using marijuana?

  • sleepiness and increased hunger
  • difficulty keeping track of time
  • impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
  • increased heart rate
  • potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease
  • bloodshot eyes
  • dry mouth and throat
  • decreased social inhibitions
  • paranoia, hallucinations

What are the long-term effects of using marijuana?

  • enhanced cancer risk
  • decrease in the testosterone levels for men
  • increase in testosterone levels for women
  • lower sperm counts and difficulty having children in men
  • increased risk of infertility on women
  • diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
  • psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect

If you or someone you know has a drug problem, there is help available. Talk to a school counselor, a friend, or a parent, and check links from this web site.