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Cannabis and Our Teens. 

Cannabis often one of the first drugs a teen is offered. Do you know the Facts?

Cannabis in Canada

The rate of cannabis use is two times higher among Canadian youth aged 15 - 24 than it is among adults. 

    • Canadian youth have one of the highest rates of cannabis use worldwide.  In 2016, the World Health Organization compared past-30-day cannabis use among youth aged 15 across 40 countries and found that use by Canadian youth (13%) was the second highest.

    • One in 5 teens aged between 15 and 19 have used cannabis in the past year.

    • In Ontario, cannabis use increases with high school grade level to a high of 37.2% among 12th grade students. (Reported High School use of marijuana: Gr.9 – 10.3%, Gr.10 – 25.2%, Gr.11 – 35.1%, Gr.12 - 37.2%)

    • Cannabis use is still more prevalent among males than females, although the rate of use among females is  on the rise.  

Recreational use of Cannabis is presently illegal in Canada, but that will change soon. 

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation in 2017 to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to the use of cannabis. This proposed Cannabis Act would create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis for recreational use in Canada.

The cannabis landscape in Canada doesn’t change the fact that all mind-altering substances — including cannabis — are harmful for a teen's still-developing teen brain.

As a non-profit committed to youth drug prevention and education, Drug Free Kids Canada has written a position paper on the proposed Cannabis legislation. Drug Free Kids Canada Position on Cannabis.


Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a product of the plant Cannabis Sativa.

The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the roughly 400 chemicals found in the cannabis plant, THC affects the brain the most. It is a mind-altering chemical that gives those who use cannabis a high. Another active chemical in cannabis is CBD (cannabidiol), which is presently being studied and used for medicinal purposes.

Cannabis is also called marijuana, bud, blunt, chronic, dab, dope, ganja, grass, green, hash, herb, joint, loud, Mary Jane, mj, pot, reefer, shatter, skunk, smoke, trees, wax, weed.


Cannabis is commonly rolled into a cigarette (called a “joint”) or in a cigar (called a “blunt”) or it’s smoked in a pipe or water pipe (called a “bong”). A single intake of smoke is called a “hit.” Cannabis resin can be vaporized and/or smoked in a hookah pipe or bong (where the smoke is drawn through water before inhaling it).

In addition, there are cannabis concentrates such as hash, wax, shatter, (a relatively recent by-product of cannabis with very high levels of THC) tinctures, and oil, most of which are ingested by heating and then inhaling the smoke.  Cannabis can also be brewed as tea or mixed into food and ingested as edible candies, cookies and brownies.

Cannabis can also be laced with other substances (e.g. cocaine) and there is evidence to suggest that cannabis can be contaminated with pesticides and harmful chemicals.6

There is no single reason that teens might use cannabis.

They may try cannabis for social reasons, as a way to fit in or socialize with their peers, or because they think “everyone is doing it.” They may also use cannabis as a coping mechanism to deal with life stresses.

Do you know the facts about cannabis? Here are some common myths.

Effects of Cannabis Use: click here

Talk to your teens about cannabis - today!

Keeping the lines of communication open can make a big difference in preventing your teen's drug use.

But how do you talk to your teen about cannabis?   Talking to teenagers can be difficult to begin with. Talking to them about drugs and alcohol can be even harder. Ultimately, there is no perfect “script” for talking with your teen about cannabis.

However, it's important that he or she inherently understands that you don’t approve of their use of cannabis, in the same way that you don’t want him or her to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use other drugs. That said, many teens will experiment with drugs for any number of reasons;  it’s not a reflection on you, or your parenting.

Learn how to talk with your teen about cannabis. Download the Cannabis Talk Kit here. 

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