WHAT IS MARIJUANA?
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC. The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience.
WHAT DOES MARIJUANA LOOK LIKE?
Marijuana is a greenish mixture of the dried buds of the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. Commercial-grade marijuana contains the stems and seeds of the plant that are not high quality. Sinsemilla, a higher potency marijuana contains only the leaves and buds of the un-pollinated female cannabis plant.
HOW IS MARIJUANA CONSUMED?
Marijuana is usually smoked as a hand rolled cigarette (joint), or in a pipe, and also in water pipes (bong). It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. Use also might include mixing marijuana in food or brewing it as a tea.
WHAT DOES MARIJUANA DO TO ME?
Marijuana’s effects begin as soon as the drug enters the brain and can last from 1 to 3 hours. As THC enters the brain, it causes the user to feel high by stimulating brain cells to release the chemical dopamine. When the euphoria passes, the user may feel sleepy or depressed and may also get feelings of panic, anxiety, or distrust. THC disrupts coordination and balance by binding to parts of the brain that regulate balance, posture, coordination of movement, and reaction time.
Marijuana use is associated with numerous detrimental health effects, including frequent respiratory infections, impaired memory and learning, increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. Because marijuana contains irritants and carcinogens, it can promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract. Additionally, marijuana users typically inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers, increasing the lungs exposure to carcinogenic smoke.
The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination, and increased heart rate. Studies indicate that a persons risk of heart attack within the first hour of smoking marijuana is four times the usual risk.
Marijuana is often referred to these names on the street:
Weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, herb, bud, skunk, kif, chronic and 420. Also, terms derived from trademark varieties such as Bubble Gum, Northern Lights, Blueberry, Juicy Fruit and Afghani #1.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse