Also called: Weed, bud, pot, hash, ganja, herb

Marijuana is an illegal drug from the Cannabis sativa plant.  It is most commonly used as a dried, shredded mix of brownish/green flowers, stems, and seeds.  Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

Reasons for Use

The active ingredient, THC, gives people a mind-altering affect and makes them feel “high.”  For some people, it can be a relaxing and fun experience while others experience paranoia, distorted perceptions, and difficulty in thinking and problem solving.  One occasion may be a fine experience, but depending on where the marijuana comes from, it may change the experience each time it is used.  All people are subject to being affected by its negative health consequences.

How it is Used

Often times marijuana is smoked like a cigarette (a joint), in a pipe/piece, or a bong.  Some people empty the tobacco from a cigar and fill it with marijuana (a blunt).

Marijuana’s Effects on the Body

THC enters the brain and activates the “reward center” of your brain.  This stimulates the brain cells to release dopamine causing the user to feel euphoric or “high.”  Most users experience a dry mouth sensation and become very hungry and thirsty.

“It’s just weed.”

  • Wrong.  Most people think that marijuana is not harmful but in reality it is.  It can cause:
  • Lung and heart complications
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of coordination
  • Problems with learning and memory

It can also promote cancer because it has 50-70% more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.  Additionally, you can never be too sure where the marijuana is coming from, so it could have other drugs in it.  Some people use marijuana and have severe complications because the marijuana was mixed or ‘laced’ with acid, crack, cocaine, or other drugs.

Marijuana is Addictive

Long-term use can lead to addiction.  Physical dependence and withdrawal are also possible with symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, and drug craving.  Over 250,000 people seek drug treatment for marijuana abuse each year.