This Version Posted: February 20, 2019

Are there particular risks to youth and young adults under 25?

Youth and young adults under age 25 who use cannabis are at higher risk of effects on brain development and function that may become permanent. This is because the brain continues to develop until the age of 25 and the THC in cannabis affects the same areas in the brain that direct development.

Young people who use cannabis are at higher risk of:

  • mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or other psychosis),
  • addiction to cannabis,
  • problems with memory, thinking, learning, problem-solving skills,
  • behavioural issues,
  • difficulties with relationships at home, school or work, and
  • lung and respiratory problems from smoking cannabis.

Young people who use cannabis may be tempted to use it with other substances such as alcohol, which intensifies the effects and can lead to more health risks and worsening judgment leading to reckless behavior (such as driving while impaired, having unprotected sex, or other risk-taking behaviors).

For more information:

  • Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know
  • Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (Youth)