What is cannabis?

Cannabis is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance primarily responsible for the effects of cannabis. Cannabis is also commonly called marijuana, weed, or pot.

What do the data tell us about cannabis use in Vermont?

National data shows more Vermonters (ages 12 and up) are using cannabis compared to the country overall. The number of Vermonters who try cannabis for the first time between the ages of 12 and 17 is also higher in our state than in the country overall.

It is important to look at the reasons why more Vermonters on average are using cannabis and starting cannabis use earlier than most other states. The Health Department is monitoring how our efforts are making a positive difference with cannabis use, especially among young people in Vermont.

What are the health impacts of cannabis use?

Health-related information about cannabis can include:

  • Lung irritation
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Worsening mental health conditions
  • Impaired coordination
  • Fetal developmental impairment
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How can you reduce health risks of cannabis use?

  • Use in moderation. 
  • Drink a lot of water - before, during, and after using cannabis. 
  • Limit smoking, which can irritate the lungs 
  • Go slow, especially with edibles. 
  • Do not use around people under 21 
  • Store your cannabis safely away from children and pets 
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You should not use cannabis if you are: 

  • Pregnant or may be pregnant 
  • Under age 21 
  • Driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness
  • Taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol
  • With certain medical conditions
  • In recovery

Help is available

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VT Helplink alcohol and drug support center provides information, support and referrals for substance use treatment, recovery and harm-reduction services in Vermont. 



Parent Up provides tips for parents and caregivers about talking with their kids about alcohol and cannabis. 

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Let’s Talk Cannabis provides science-based information about cannabis and how it affects our bodies, minds and health.

Contact Us
Substance Use Disorders (DSU)

Vermont Department of Health
280 State Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-8340


More Info
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
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