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On January 1, marijuana will become legal in the state of Illinois. The fact that marijuana is legal does not mean that it is safe. For your reference, this page contains information on the health and mental health impacts of using marijuana. More research is needed to understand the full impact of marijuana use.


What Is Marijuana?
  • The dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant that contain:
    • mind-alerting compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
    • other active compounds that are not mind altering like cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Marijuana gets into the body through smoking, eating, drinking, or absorbing through the skin
  • Marijuana is also called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis
How can marijuana impact health and mental health?
  • Regular use of marijuana increases your risk for anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia
  • Heavy users of marijuana can have short-term problems with attention, memory, and learning
  • Marijuana smoke can harm your lungs and contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
  • Using marijuana makes the heart beat faster and increases your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Can I use marijuana if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • No amount of marijuana is safe for pregnant of breastfeeding women.
  • Using marijuana can affect the health of your baby
  • Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to low birthweight babies and may harm the growth and development of your baby’s brain
  • THC can be passed to your baby through breast milk. THC is stored in fat and is slowly released over time, meaning that your baby could still be exposed even after you stop using marijuana.
  • If you need assistance addressing morning sickness, call your medical provider
Why Do THC Potency Levels Matter?
  • Marijuana potency is higher today than ever before.
  • Higher THC potency levels have been linked to causing addiction
  • The higher the THC content, the stronger the effects on the brain
  • High THC potency products are linked to psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and poisonings
  • Some methods of using marijuana like using edibles may deliver very high levels of THC to the user.
Is Marijuana Medicine?
  • Marijuana may help symptoms for some health problems.
  • The Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program allows persons who are diagnosed with a qualifying debilitating medical condition to register with the Illinois Department of Public Health in order to obtain access to marijuana for medical use.
  • While marijuana is used as a medicine, this does not mean that marijuana is safe. When using marijuana as medicine under a doctor’s care, the doctor can monitor your dosage, risk, and health conditions.

Where Can I learn more?

If you use marijuana products, keep them in childproof containers and out of the reach of children. Like with alcohol, using marijuana can impair driving. Do not use marijuana and drive.