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Marijuana and Your Health

The effects of marijuana use of any kind can vary from person to person, and each person may have a different tolerance level.

Marijuana and Tobacco

Each method of consuming marijuana has its own health and safety risks. The link between smoking marijuana and the risk of cancer is unclear. However, smoking marijuana along with tobacco products, like blunts and blunt wraps, introduces chemicals known to cause cancer into your body.

Smoking marijuana with tobacco has also been shown to increase the risk for chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).

Children and Teens

Research suggests that frequent marijuana use among children and teens may cause long-term health impacts, including:
  • learning problems
  • memory loss, and
  • mental health issues.
Please talk to the young people in your life about the risks of underage marijuana use.

Edible Marijuana Products

People who eat or drink marijuana-infused food, beverages, or other edible products — also known as edibles — should know that it may take 30 minutes to two hours to feel its effects.

When consuming edible marijuana products, the effects may last longer than expected. This depends on the dose, a person's last meal, and whether medications or alcohol were used at the same time. Eating too much of a marijuana edible could result in unwanted health effects and intoxication.

​Keeping Your Family Safe

Keep all marijuana, especially foods or beverages that contain marijuana, away from children, pets, and others who may unknowingly consume them. If a child or adult unintentionally consumes edibles — or consumes more than intended — call the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention at 800-222-1222.

Marijuana has also been found to be harmful during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If a woman is breastfeeding, the active chemicals in marijuana can get into the breast milk and may affect the baby.

*Voters in Massachusetts voted in favor of Question 4 on November 8, 2016, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older. The law takes effect on December 15, 2016. Information about what this means for you can be found on the City of Boston's website​. ​

For information about medical marijuana, please visit our Medical Marijuana regulations page​

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: