What is Marijuana? 

According to the CDC, “Marijuana- also known as cannabis, weed, pot, or dope—refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant contains more than 100 compounds (or cannabinoids). These compounds include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is impairing, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is not impairing–meaning it does not cause a high.” 

Marijuana: What We Know

How Can You Use Marijuana?

You can use marijuana in various ways. You can smoke it in things like joints, which are like cigarettes, or in blunts, which are cigars filled with marijuana. There are also bongs, which are special pipes that use water. You can even put marijuana in foods like cookies, cakes, or brownies, which are called edibles, and in drinks.

Some people use electronic devices, like e-cigarettes or vape pens, to vape marijuana. They can also make oils and concentrates from the compounds in marijuana and vape or inhale them. There’s a growing trend called “dabbing,” which involves smoking oils, concentrates, and extracts from marijuana. Each of these ways to use marijuana has its own health and safety risks.

How Can Marijuana Affect Your Health?

  • Brain Development and Function: Young brains, such as babies, kids, and teenagers, can be harmed by marijuana and THC. If you use marijuana when you’re a teenager or in your early adult years before your brain is fully grown, it might affect how your brain makes connections for things like paying attention, remembering information, and learning. These problems can stick around for a long time or maybe even forever.
  • Heart and Lungs: Using any kind of smoking product, including marijuana, can harm your lungs, make you more likely to get bronchitis, and damage tiny blood vessels. Smoking marijuana can also raise the chances of having a stroke, heart problems, and other diseases related to your blood vessels.
  • Mental Health: People who use marijuana might have more social anxiety, feel depressed, have thoughts of hurting themselves, or even experience schizophrenia. Scientists are still figuring out if using marijuana is what actually causes these health problems, but it could make the symptoms worse.
  • Inhaling or Eating Marijuana: Vaping products with THC in it has been connected to lung harm and, even death. When you use strong THC concentrates in vaping devices, it can be risky because there’s a lot of THC in them. Eating marijuana in things like food or drinks doesn’t start working as quickly as smoking it. This means you might not feel the effects right away. But the problem is, you might eat too much, and that can be dangerous and cause serious harm.
  • Impairs Your Performance: Marijuana impacts timing, movement, and coordination, posing a threat to athletic performance and elevating the likelihood of injuries.
  • Affects Your Driving: Driving under the influence of marijuana is both hazardous and against the law. Marijuana impairs various skills essential for safe driving, such as reaction time, coordination, and concentration.
  • Marijuana is Addictive: Because your brain is still growing, early use of marijuana is more likely to lead to addiction. Research indicates that 1 in 6 people who begin using marijuana during their teenage years will develop an addiction to the drug. Products popular among teens, like oils in vape cartridges and edible items, often contain an average of 50 – 90% THC, the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana. In contrast, back in the 1990s, regular marijuana contained an average of 4% THC.

Marijuana Health Affects

Kanabec County Data on Marijuana:

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) collect data statewide every three years in a survey known as the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS). We use this data to help us decide what are the biggest priorities to address in the coalition and how we can use it in our community. Below are some highlights on marijuana data from the MSS of 2022 in Kanabec County.  

  • 92% of 9th graders have never used marijuana.
  • 83% of 11th graders have never used marijuana
  • 15% of 9th graders think their classmates are using marijuana everyday. 
  • 20% of 11th graders think their classmates are using marijuana everyday. 
  • 24% of 9th graders think there is no risk in harming themselves when using marijuana once or twice a week.


Learn More About: Marijuana Risks

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana

Partnership to End Addiction: Marijuana Resources

CDC: Health Effects of Marijuana

Truth Initiative: Marijuana Fact Sheet

Online Quitting Resources:

Truth Initiative: This is Quitting

Marijuana Anonymous

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

SMART Recovery

Marijuana Quitting Apps:

Grounded: Quit Weed Smoking

Quit Weed

Other Quitting Apps:

Quit Now




Smoke Free- Quit Smoking Now


Content is Informational Only
The content of this site including text, graphics, images, and all other material are for informational purposes only. The information contained here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. ALWAYS seek the advice of your physician or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here!

If you are in a life-threatening situation or have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.