This webpage provides information about what cannabis is and the health effects of cannabis use and misuse.
Cannabis Legalization in ConnecticutPublic Act 21-1 [June Special Session] authorized the legalization, regulation, and taxation of recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 or older in Connecticut.
- Connecticut's medical marijuana law became effective in October 2012. For more information on medical marijuana, visit the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection's webpage.
What is Cannabis?Cannabis (also called marijuana) refers to products derived from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.
Some of these cannabis products contain large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- THC is a psychoactive, or mind-altering, chemical that is responsible for most of the intoxicating effects of cannabis that people seek.
How Many People Use Cannabis?
- Over 31 million people aged 12 years or older used marijuana in the past month in the United States.
- In 2017, an estimated 9.4% of Connecticut adults marijuana one or more times in the past 30 days (2017 BRFSS data).
- The prevalence of marijuana use varies by gender, age, sexual orientation, mental health status, and disability status. For example, 20.7% of adults age 18 to 24 years old use marijuana compared with 5.7% of adults 55 to 64 years old. [Detailed data will be made available soon]
- In 2017, an estimated 21.7% of Connecticut high school students used marijuana on one or more days of the past 30 days (2017 YRBS data).
- The prevalence of marijuana use among high school students varies by grade, sexual orientation, and mental health status. For example, 25.1% of students with poor mental health use marijuana compared with 13.9% of students without poor mental health.
- To access data and statistics concerning the impact of cannabis consumption on public health in Connecticut, visit the Department of Public Health's Cannabis Health Statistics webpage.
How Does Cannabis Use in Connecticut Compare to Use in the Nation?
The percent of youth and adults that used cannabis in the past month in Connecticut is similar to the percent in the United States and the Northeast Region.
Is Cannabis Addictive?
According to the CDC, about 1 in 10 cannabis users will become addicted while about 3 in 10 may develop dependence on cannabis.
- For people who begin using before the age of 18 years, 1 in 6 cannabis users will become addicted.
- The dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC.
- THC concentrations have increased over time.
Changes in Cannabis Potency Over Time
Percentage of THC and CBD in the Cannabis Samples Seized by the DEA from 1995-2019
Data Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse - Marijuana Potency
What are the Health Effects of Cannabis?
The health effects of cannabis use are not fully understood as widespread studies have not been performed since it remains illegal at the federal level. Studies have shown that there may be a range of health effects on the body and brain, including the following:
|Part of Body or Type of Cannabis Product||Health Effect|
Short-term effects on the brain:
Frequent cannabis use in high doses may result in disorientation and paranoia.
Developing brains, like those in babies, children, and teenagers:
|Lungs||Cannabis smoke may cause a heavy cough and increase the risk for cancer and lung disease.|
Cannabis makes the heart beat faster.
Cannabis use increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
|Edible Cannabis||Poisoning / THC overdose (paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions)|
|Chronic Users of Cannabis with High THC Content||Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is marked by severe cycles of nausea and vomiting|
What are the Effects of Secondhand Cannabis Smoke?
Secondhand cannabis smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing substances and chemicals as secondhand tobacco smoke, including benzene, cadmium, chromium, formaldehyde, lead and mercury.
People who are exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke can have detectable levels of THC in their blood and urine.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Non-Smoker Exposure to Secondhand Cannabis Smoke II: Effect of Room Ventilation on Physiological, Subjective, and Behavioral/Cognitive Effect. Hermann, etal. 2015 June 1; 151:194-202. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.03.019
Community, Family Health and Prevention Section (CFHPS) - (860) 509-8251
This page was last updated on October 12, 2021