Brain Development 

Brain Connections            

  • Part of the reason you must be age 21 or older to consume cannabis is it can change how your brain builds connections, alters perception, mood and memory. Full brain development occurs at age 25-26, so there are greater risks to using if you are younger.
  • Cannabis use can also reduce memory and learning functions if you use before brain development is complete.
  • For example, someone may use cannabis to cope with feeling down or anxiety; in doing so, they risk compromising the brain processes that would otherwise help that individual develop natural coping mechanisms during brain development.


Cannabis use can reduce memory and learning functions if you use before brain development is complete.


“Bad High”


  • Higher levels of THC increase the chance of a negative reaction.
  • Negative reaction symptoms: panic, delusions, severe paranoia, extreme confusion, increased heart rate and nausea/vomiting
  • If you or a friend experiences a negative reaction, try to lay or sit down, shut your eyes and do your best to relax. 
  • In 2010, cannabis was involved in more emergency room visits than alcohol, cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. Rates continue to increase. If you decide to use, be aware of dosage and potency. Edibles cause a more intense and prolonged high. 
  • If you or someone else has mixed cannabis with other substances, or you notice signs of a medical emergency, call 911.


Medical Cannabis

Please see our Cannabis 101 page for information on medical use. 


Mental Health Issues and Psychoses

Substantial research indicates that individuals with a predisposition for or family history of psychosis and/or substance use disorder should refrain from using cannabis as it can trigger these conditions.

  • The higher the level of use, the greater the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses.
  • Regular use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.
  • See potential concerns page for information on dependence/cannabis use disorder.


Other Issues Associated with Cannabis Use

  • Cannabinoid Hyperemesis is a new clinical condition characterized by vomiting, pain and the desire to take a hot shower. It usually occurs in chronic users. Talk to your provider if you are concerned about cannabinoid hyperemesis. 
  • Smoking cannabis can negatively impact respiratory health and long-term health outcomes. Secondhand cannabis smoke impairs arteries longer than secondhand tobacco smoke.