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Learn more about Cannabis, THC and CBD.

Let’s go over some basics

The cannabis plant comes from the “cannabaceae” family which produce a variety of plants that can be narcotic (i.e. having psychoactive compounds) or non-narcotic (minimal to no psychoactive compounds)

There are different types of cannabis plants. Due to rapid hybridization (where different plant species become merged) the difference between these plants is not always distinctly recognizable. This is also because of the poorly regulated condition of the cannabis industry.

There are many compounds or “chemicals” in cannabis plants that have not been identified yet. Chemical composition of cannabis today is usually unknown or limited to a few number of ‘cannabinoids’. It’s difficult to trace a specific reaction or effect to a single compound, as they work in harmony with each other!

THC and CBD are common/popular ‘cannabinoids’ or compounds present in Cannabis. THC is known as the “psychoactive” compound, but both CBD and THC (along with many other identified and unidentified compounds) have effects on the brain.
-Professor Michael Kuhar at Emory University


“ Cannabinoids are believed to get you high, relaxed and more social. They produce a calm and mildly euphoric state. The effects from smoking the plant last from two to four hours. Medical marijuana, a term referred to as the use of marijuana in medicine, has been used for pain and nausea and weight loss in AIDS patients. But, cannabinoids can induce transient schizophrenic-like symptoms in healthy individuals. Also, smoking marijuana can worsen symptoms in patients who are already psychotic. Cannabinoids impair memory, judgement, balance, and problem solving. And they are reported to increase apathy.”

Cantor, R. (2018) Stanford Medicine

THC Content over the years: There has been extensive research conducted on cannabis samples over the years that suggests that the potency level of THC (and hence, cannabis itself) has risen tremendously over the years. With the introduction of “dabs” and “waxes” and other concentrates, THC content can go up to 95%

Your Brain on Drugs: Marijuana

what does the data say?

About Our Source

The Illinois Youth Survey is a statewide survey administered to hundreds of schools around the state. This initiative is lead by the Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. All county and state level data are available on their website. We have selected to highlight a few data points from the 2018 Non-Chicago Cook County data set which provides a good representation of the entire township.

1. The data is completely anonymous:
The survey does not ask for any form of identification or question that might lead to the identity of the student. This is to ensure that students feel safe and answer questions honestly. It minimizes the chance of bias and inconsistent data.

2. The survey is standardized: This statewide survey is created by data professionals and undergoes a rigorous formation process that makes sure questions are clear, un-biased, and neutral among other things. Standardized surveys have a good chance of being both valid and reliable.

3. Correlation is not causation: We will often compare a data point with another. Their relationship may be indicative of a pattern or might be informative. Maybe when one data point increases, we notice that the other decreases. However, it is important to know that this correlation does not confirm or state that the increase in one is causing the decrease in the other or vice versa.

To view some basic level data for all substances visit our Data Highlights Page.

30 day use by grade
Personal disapproval
“How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to Smoke Marijuana?”
perceived harm
“How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they Smoke Marijuana once or twice a week
Perceived Parent Disapproval of Use vs Parent Communication vs 30-Day Use

Parent Disapproval: How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to Smoke Marijuana?
Parent Communication:  In the past year, have your parents/guardians talked to you about Not using Marijuana?
30 Day Use Rate: Have you smoked marijuana in the past 30 days?

perceived access
If you wanted to get the following, how easy would it be for you to get some Marijuana?
8th grade: 94% have not used
10th grade: 81% have not used
12th grade: 64% have not used
During the past 12 months,  you drove a car or other vehicle when:

This data is especially important in the conversation surrounding marijuana use and driving which has come  to be incorrectly perceived as  a safer alternative.

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