The New Marijuana

Today's marijuana is not safe for teens. (Not to mention illegal!) The very high potency is associated with youth IQ loss, psychosis, and emergency room visits. 


Top 10 Facts

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FAQ: The New Marijuana

What is the "new" marijuana?

Marijuana today has been bred to be much stronger than in the past.  Adults who used it when they were in school were using a much less potent drug.

  • The amount of THC--the ingredient that gets you high--tripled from the 1970s to the 1990s and tripled again between 1995 (4%) and 2014 (12%). Dispensaries now provide it at average levels of 23%.

  • Plus, today's marijuana is commonly vaped or used in concentrated form (dabs, wax, shatter), which can have 76% THC or more. High levels of THC can produce anxiety, agitation, and even psychosis.

It’s not the original plant any more. 

Who in Norwalk is using marijuana?

  • We don't have data on adult use in Norwalk. Nationally, 12% of adults report using marijuana--just over 1 in 10. 

  • In our 2018 youth survey, the majority of Norwalk 9th and 11th graders (86%) did NOT use marijuana. Among 11th graders, 1 out of 5 reported using it at least once in the past month.

  • In the same survey, Norwalk teens believe marijuana is less risky than other drugs

  • Norwalk teens who are more likely to use marijuana than their peers include: boys; Blacks; gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth; teens reporting mental health struggles; teens reporting antisocial behaviors

What is dabbing? wax? shatter?

These terms refer to using marijuana extracts or oils that are chemically concentrated from the plant. These concentrates are extremely potent, with 70% or more THC content, so they get the user much higher. The side effects are also much stronger than using the dried plant. FYI: CT hospitals are seeing more people come in with marijuana-induced psychosis as a result of these products.

  • Dabbing refers to smoking or vaping THC extracts or oils concentrated from the marijuana plant. 

  • Wax is a THC concentrate that is at least twice as potent as dried marijuana leaf. Because it is so strong, it can cause nearly instant highs, as well as hallucinations, extreme changes in behavior, and even overdoses.

  • Shatter is a hard, glass-like, and clear, shatter is a form of concentrated oils from the marijuana plant.

How does marijuana affect your health? 

  • If you smoke marijuana, it affects your lungs and heart just like tobacco. The secondhand smoke is also dangerous to people around you. Learn more from the CDC.

  • Marijuana affects your brain because it contains THC, a psychoactive drug that affects memory, learning, attention, judgment, and emotions. In adults, the effects usually last while they're high, but effects are dangerous for users under age 25, because their brains are still maturing.

  • Teens and young adults who use marijuana several times a week and/or use it at high strengths (like dabbing) are at risk of: losing 6-8 IQ points permanently; having temporary psychosis; developing schizophrenia; becoming addicted to marijuana or other drugs in the future

  • It is possible to overdose on marijuana. Edibles and concentrates increase the risk.

What about medical uses of marijuana?

  • The federal government does not allow marijuana for any purposes, due to concerns over safety and inadequate research to support its use for medical purposes.

  • CT is among 38 states (as of 2021) that have legalized "medical marijuana." Visit the state webpage here.

  • Medical marijuana is only available to CT residents who are certified by a doctor to have certain conditions. (As of 2021, CT has identified 38 qualifying conditions for adults and 10 for children.)

  • Medical marijuana consumers get a certificate from the doctor which they take to a medical marijuana dispensary.

  • The certificate does not specify a method of use, dosage, or frequency of use for different conditions; it just allows the client to select a product.

  • Important: Medical marijuana is only intended to be used by the person who has the certificate. It should not be shared.

Does marijuana/CBD help with stress? 

  • Many people report that marijuana helps them relax. Did you know it's the CBD ingredient in the plant that can help with anxiety, while the THC ingredient can actually increase anxiety? So vaping concentrates (which are mostly THC) is likely to make anxiety worse. That explains why some people thinks their stress comes back after using marijuana. 

  • While marijuana/THC is illegal, CBD is legal because it cannot get you high. CBD is not regulated, so studies have found that some products for sale contain virtually no CBD, while others may contain some THC. 

  • If you feel like you need marijuana to relax, it may be time to change whatever's stressing you out so much. A SMART Recovery support group can help you learn skills to make positive changes in your life. Also consider meditation apps like Calm or Headspace or practicing yoga to manage your stress! 

Is marijuana addictive?

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. 

  • Overall, one in 10 users develops an addiction. 

  • Among people who begin using before the age of 18, 1 in 6 develops an addiction.

Heavy users may develop withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping while trying to quit use.  Learn more at NIH.

Does marijuana affect driving skills?

Marijuana significantly impairs your ability to drive. Multiple studies have found that the risk of being involved in a crash significantly increased after marijuana use. In a few cases, the risk doubled or more than doubled!

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16-minute TED Talk by Ben Cort on the unseen impacts of the commercial cannabis industry.

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Kevin Sabet, former White House advisor and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), explains marijuana policy & debunks myths at the New Canaan Parent Support Group, July 2020. Video is 1.5 hours.