Marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant. The main active chemical present in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Apart from this it contains around 400 other dangerous chemicals. Most users smoke marijuana with the help of hand-rolled cigarettes, some use pipes or water pipes called bongs. Special marijuana cigars called as blunts are very popular. Marijuana is also used to brew tea and is sometimes mixed into foods.
Most users of this drug would say that there are very few if any dangers of marijuana. However, marijuana is a dangerous substance. A February 2001 article in The British Journal of Psychiatry states that cannabis (marijuana) use can "cause dose related impairments of psychomotor performance with implications for car and train driving, airplane piloting, and academic performance."
The dangers of marijuana also include marijuana cigarettes. They can be as addictive as nicotine and the tars from marijuana contain higher levels of some cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco. Additionally, smoking three or four marijuana joints a day can produce the same risk of bronchitis or emphysema as twenty or more tobacco cigarettes.
Also, the dangers of marijuana related emergency room visits are rising. A 1999 Drug Abuse Warning Network report found that visits to the hospital emergency departments because of marijuana use grew steadily during the 1990’s from an estimated 15,706 visits in 1990 to 87,150 in 1999. This is a 455 percent increase. Patients thirty-five years old or older experienced the largest increase in marijuana mentions (1,078 percent, from 2,160 to 25,453) from 1990 to 1999. Among children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, marijuana mentions increased 489 percent (from 2,170 to 12,784) over the same period.
The dangers of marijuana are linked to mental health problems. A February 2001 article in The British Journal of Psychiatry states that regular use of marijuana may make things worse for people who have mental health problems. Andrew Johns of the Institute of Psychiatry in London found that 15 percent of marijuana users exhibited psychotic symptoms or irrational feelings of persecution. Johns found that "an appreciable proportion of cannabis users report short-lived adverse effects, including psychotic states following heavy consumption, and regular users are at risk of dependence. People with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are especially vulnerable in that cannabis generally provokes relapse and aggravates existing symptoms."