Effects on youth

Youth are at special risk for harm

  • Brain development isn’t complete until age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth shouldn’t use marijuana. 
  • Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have a hard time learning, problems remembering, and lower math and reading scores. These effects can last weeks after the last time they used marijuana.
  • Marijuana is addictive. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if started at a young age.
  • Youth who start using marijuana, alcohol or other drugs may be more likely to continue using later in life.
  • Youth who use marijuana are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, or to attempt suicide.


Marijuana use by Colorado youth

  • 4 out of 5 high-school students don’t use marijuana. In 2019, 20.62 percent of Colorado high school students used marijuana in the last 30 days. It’s easier for youth to say no to peer pressure if they don’t think “everyone” is doing it.
  • Of Colorado high-school seniors who have used marijuana, more than 1 out of 3 started before age 15. Be sure to talk early and often with youth about the risks of using marijuana. 
  • Find more in-depth data here.

All information on the health effects of marijuana is taken from the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee’s systematic review of available, high-quality research.