While cannabis (also called marijuana) remains illegal at the federal level, many states have made it legal for both medical and personal use. Many claims about the benefits are not yet proven; more high-quality research is needed.

What do we know? THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the chemicals best studied in Cannabis. THC causes a “high” and can be addicting, where CBD does not. Given the lack of scientific study to determine safety and effectiveness, proper dosing, frequency of use, or interactions with other drugs of THC and CBD products is unknown.

The biggest risk in using cannabis today is the higher levels of THC which can cause paranoia, mental breakdown, and addiction. The following table outlines levels of risk when using cannabis:

Low risk Medium risk High risk
  • Abstaining from use
  • Use of CBD products
  • Use of <15% THC products
  • Use of cannabis after age 21-25
  • >15% THC content
  • Use of synthetic cannabis
  • Regular inhalation
  • Combining with alcohol
  • >30% THC content
  • Daily or near daily use
  • Combining with other substances
  • Family history of psychosis
Taken from the American Journal of Public Health Policy, August 2017, Vol 107, No. 8

Any use of cannabis poses some risk, both mentally, physically, and socially. Cannabis use should not be used while driving, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.

If a person is concerned about their cannabis use patterns, Recovery Coaches are available as support. The role of a Recovery Coach is to provide compassionate and active listening, linkage to resources and help with referrals. Talk to an addiction coach to assess your patterns of use to find hope in treatment. To connect with a coach, visit or call/text 802-234-1550.

Cannabis Use in Children

CBD has been studied for effectiveness in controlling seizures in children with a rare form of a certain type of epilepsy. However, no studies have proven that CBD is helpful or even safe for otherwise healthy children to use. Liver function changes and possible damage are possible side effects of CBD use.

Many CBD products can be found in products appealing to children such as chocolate, gummies/candy, and honey. Check labels carefully before purchasing products.

THC-containing products (cannabis flower, edibles, concentrates) will impact a child or adolescent’s developing brain. Therefore, of use of these products is not recommended in anyone under the age of 21.

Adults should store all cannabis products in high, out of reach of children and pets, places and in a locked container or cabinet if possible. In the case of accidental use, call Northern New England Poison Control 1-800-222-1222.