Marijuana, also known as pot, grass, reefer, weed, herb, Mary Jane or MJ, is a dried mixture of parts of the hemp plant, cannabis sativa. Most users smoke it in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, while some use pipes or water pipes called bongs. Marijuana is also used to brew tea and is sometimes mixed into foods.
People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). They also smoke it in blunts—emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. To avoid inhaling smoke, more people are using vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients (including THC) from the marijuana and collect their vapor in a storage unit. A person then inhales the vapor, not the smoke.
Users can mix marijuana in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins
Marijuana is a drug present in the Cannabis sativa plant, which contains hundreds of different chemicals. It has mind-altering effects ranging from relaxation and slowed thinking, to panic attacks and memory impairment. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs, and is consumed via smoking or mixed into food. The drug can cause serious health problems related to smoking, as well as unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms Some noticeable signs and symptoms of marijuana abuse include:
- Rapid, loud talking and bursts of laughter in early stages of intoxication
- Sleepy in the later stages
- Lack of concentration and coordination
- Forgetfulness in conversation
- Inflammation in the whites of the eyes
- Odor similar to burnt rope on clothing or breath
- Distorted sense of time passage and a tendency to overestimate time intervals
- Craving for sweets
- Increased appetite
- Use or possession of paraphernalia including roach clips, packs of rolling papers, pipes or bongs
Marijuana has both short- and long-term effects on the brain.
When a person smokes marijuana, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the person eats or drinks it. In that case, the user generally feels the effects after 30 minutes to 1 hour.
THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals in the brain. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function.
Marijuana overactivates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This causes the “high” that users feel.
Marijuana also affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent.