Marijuana Guide

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a green or grayish drug made from the dried leaves of the female cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa.  Also referred to as “pot,” “reefer,” “weed,” and “Mary Jane,” it contains a high percentage of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC) that produces the drug’s physical and mental effects -- particularly the slow rush of altered sensations referred to as a “high.”   

When ingested, THC interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are crucial to learning, memory and pain perception.  These receptors play an important role in brain development and function, as well.  When smoked, marijuana flows through the lungs and into the bloodstream, where it carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.  When it’s ingested in food or drink, absorption takes much longer. 

Marijuana ranks second to alcohol as the most commonly used recreational drug in the United States. Due to its relatively low cost compared to other drugs and its easy availability, marijuana proponents often justify its use by claiming the drug is cheaper and isn’t as addictive or harmful as other drugs, like heroin and crack cocaine.  The Drug Enforcement Agency contradicts this notion by categorizing marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug – along with heroin, crack cocaine and ecstasy.  This means marijuana is a drug that poses a high potential for abuse and has no current, acceptable method of medical treatment.

How is marijuana used?

Marijuana users consume the drug through a variety of methods such as smoking, vaporizing, ingesting capsules and/or sprays, trickling liquid drops from a tincture, or swallowing with food.  The preferred method by the majority of users is smoking, since it’s the quickest way to experience the euphoric “high” feeling that follows ingestion, but it’s also the most damaging method due to its lasting effects on the cardiopulmonary and respiratory systems.



What are the effects
of marijuana?

The effects of marijuana vary by method of ingestion—either by smoking, vaping or eating—and each method comes with its own short and long term effects and risks. READ>>


How do I know
if someone is addicted?

Despite common purveying wisdom that marijuana isn't addictive, it can be habit-forming and become a real problem for some people. About 4.5 million Americans meet the clinical criteria for marijuana dependence, learn how to detect the onset of this addiction. READ>>


How is marijuana
addiction treated?

Marijuana, while not an intrinsically addictive substance, can become habit forming. While there isn't as much respect for marijuana addiction as there is for heroin and cocaine, fortunately there are treatments. READ>>



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