Preventing Marijuana Use Among Youth

October 2021 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created this guide. The goal of this guide is to review the literature on prevention of marijuana use among youth, distill the research into recommendations for practice, and provide examples of the ways these recommendations can be implemented.

Marijuana use among youth and young adults is a major public health concern. Early youth marijuana use is
associated with:

  • Neuropsychological and neurodevelopmental decline
  • Poor school performance
  • Increased school drop-out rates
  • Increased risk for psychotic disorders in adulthood
  • Increased risk for later depression
  • Suicidal ideation or behavior

As policy and legalization efforts evolve and the availability of legal marijuana increases, communities and
families need guidance to support the prevention of marijuana use among youth. This guide covers programs and policies to prevent marijuana use among youth aged 12 to 17, including:

  • Environmental strategies, such as regulating the price of marijuana products, where these products
    are sold, the products themselves, and their promotion and advertising
  • School- and community-based substance use prevention programs to implement along with
    environmental interventions as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy

The guide provides considerations and strategies for key stakeholders (including policy makers, community
coalitions, businesses, school administrators, educators, and other community members), states, and the
prevention workforce to prevent and reduce marijuana use among youth.

Population: Youth

Links to resources:

Date: 2021

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