Office of National Drug Control Policy


Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. It is the most used illicit drug in the country, including among adolescents. Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental, which include: breathing illnesses, possible harm to a fetus’s brain in pregnant users, hallucinations and paranoia. The amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing steadily, creating more harmful effects for users.

In the past few years, rates of marijuana use have levelled off among middle school and high school students. However, the number of young people who believe marijuana is risky is decreasing.

A number of states have voted to legalize adult recreational marijuana or medical marijuana. The Office of National Drug Control Policy remains committed to treating substance use disorders as a public health issue, and we will continue to implement evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce marijuana use among youth nationwide. We will also continue to support scientific research on marijuana and its extracts, which may lead to safe and effective medications in the future.

Additional links: