Goal and Rationale
The goal of this video, “What is Marijuana”, from our teens series is to teach teens what marijuana is, how marijuana can be dangerous, and how they can make the right choices when it comes to identifying and rejecting marijuana.
By the end of this activity, we hope that teens will be able to:
- Explain what marijuana is.
- Assess how marijuana can be dangerous.
- Discuss the reasons that some people use marijuana.
- Think about the short and long-term effects that marijuana can have on people.
- Brainstorm the different ways that marijuana can impact them and their bodies.
Suggested procedure for educators
This video is six minutes and thirty-two seconds long, as you show the video to your students, pause the video at the 3:00 point to ask students the following questions:
Answer: Marijuana is very different than beer. Marijuana comes from a plant called Cannabis Sativa. It contains over 400 chemicals in it.
Answer: Some symptoms include: THC is the active ingredient in marijuana; it alters the mind and causes harmful effects.
Answer: Among other things it can create issues with attention, concentration, problem solving, learning, and memory that can result in poor academic performance. Also, it can hurt your motor skills, making it dangerous to drive. It affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can also harm athletic performance. It can also be linked to depression, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and suicide.
Answer: No, your brain continues its development until you’re 25. When you use marijuana, THC overwhelms parts of the brain that are still developing, and it interferes with the normal way the brain works. One study found that teens who regularly use marijuana lose an average of 5.8 IQ points by the time they reach adulthood.
After discussing these questions with your students, resume the video. When the video ends, have students answer the following questions:
Answer: Marijuana stays in your system for up to 30 days.
Answer: They want to experiment with it, they want to be just like everyone else to fit in a group or are afraid to look foolish if they don’t, or they are bored.
Answer: Yes, marijuana is addictive.
Once your students have answered questions 1-7, proceed to a large group discussion using the thematic questions below. Depending on the grade level or age group of your students, you can expect this entire activity including the video to take between 20-30 minutes.
Note: the sample answers below represent potential correct answers and can be used to facilitate deeper discussion with your students.
Answers will vary but could include: that marijuana is a powerful drug that can have very negative impact on our still developing teenage brains. The active ingredient, THC, can impact how we think, feel, and behave. We shouldn’t use marijuana it will negatively impact our future.
Answers will vary but could include: some people use marijuana to try and fit in with a crowd, some are peer pressured, others are trying to escape stressful situations at home or school, some may even be bored.
Answers will vary but could include: excitement, shame, pride, curiosity, determination, confusion, fear, sadness, uncertainty, anxiety, and/or hope.
Answers will vary but could include: I didn’t know that it can be addictive, I also didn’t know that our brains and bodies keep growing until we are 25, this makes me think twice about using it. I also didn’t realize how big a role peer pressure plays in marijuana as well as other drug and alcohol use and abuse.
Answers will vary but could include: this video helped me understand that marijuana can really change the way I behave and think and makes me reconsider the impact that it can have on me in both the short and long-term.
Note: Teachers, please have your students share their feedback with us using the form linked below, we want to continue to make our message stronger and more effective. Thanks!