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About Marijuana

About MarijuanaLooking for information about marijuana? Marijuana (Cannabis) (Tetrahydrocannabinol,THC) is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Before the 1960s, many Americans had never heard of marijuana, but today it is the most often used illegal drug in this country. There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana including "pot," "herb," "weed," "boom," "Mary Jane," "gangster," and "chronic."

Now we will learn about marijuana use and abuse. It is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint) or in a pipe or bong. In recent years, marijuana has appeared in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.

Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other drugs made from the same plant. Strong forms of cannabis include sinse-milla (sin-seh-me-yah), hashish ("hash" for short), and hash oil. All forms of cannabis are mind-altering (psychoactive) drugs; they all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals.

Marijuana's effect on the user depends on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. THC potency has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s. The strength of the drug is measured by the average amount of THC in test samples confiscated by law enforcement agencies.

Information about marijuana and THC:

  • Most ordinary marijuana (cannabis) has an average of 3 percent THC.
  • Sinsemilla (made from just the buds and flowering tops of female plants) has an average of 7.5 percent THC, with a range as high as 24 percent.
  • Hashish (the sticky resin from the female plant flowers) has an average of 3.6 percent, with a range as high as 28 percent.
  • Hash oil, a tar-like liquid distilled from hashish, has an average of 16 percent, with a range as high as 43 percent.

Need to know more about marijuana and what happens after someone uses it? Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, the user will likely feel, along with intoxication, a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction time. Blood vessels in the eye expand, so the user's eyes look red. For some people, marijuana raises blood pressure slightly and can double the normal heart rate. This effect can be greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana; but users do not always know when that happens. As the immediate effects fade, usually after 2 to 3 hours, the user may become sleepy.

Here is information about marijuana and how long it stays in the user's body. Fatty tissues in various organs readily absorb THC in marijuana. Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy, chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

Can a user have a bad reaction? Yes. Some users, especially someone new to the drug or in a strange setting, may suffer acute anxiety and have paranoid thoughts. This is more likely to happen with high doses of THC. These scary feelings will fade as the drug's effects wear off. In rare cases, a user who has taken a very high dose of the drug can have severe psychotic symptoms and need emergency medical treatment. Other kinds of bad reactions can occur when marijuana is mixed with other drugs, such as PCP or cocaine.

Let’s learn about marijuana and how it is harmful. Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through both immediate effects and damage to health over time. Marijuana hinders the user's short-term memory (memory for recent events), and he or she may have trouble handling complex tasks. With the use of more potent varieties of marijuana, even simple tasks can be difficult.

Because of the drug's effects on perceptions and reaction time, users could be involved in auto crashes. Drug users also may become involved in risky sexual behavior. There is a strong link between drug use and unsafe sex and the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.


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