Everything You Need to Know About Marijuana

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa and produces an active chemical called THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.

What does Marijuana look like?

Marijuana is usually sold as the dried out and shredded parts of flowers, stems, seed and leaves. It can appear as green or brown and the smoke has a distinctive and pungent odor.

How is Marijuana used?

Marijuana is usually smoked in a joint (cigarette) or in a pipe (sometimes called a “bong”), but it can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea.

Effects of Marijuana

Physical effects include:
* Impaired coordination
* Increased heart rate
* Reduced blood pressure
* Dry mouth and throat
* Red, bloodshot eyes
* Nausea
* Headache
* Increased appetite
* Reduced blood flow to the brain
* Changes in reproductive organs

Psychological effects include:
* Distorted perception of sight, sound, time and touch
* Difficulty thinking and solving problems
* Poor memory
* Sleepiness
* Paranoia
* Anxiety

Long-term effects include:
* Problems with learning and memory

Consequences of Marijuana

Despite popular opinion among abusers, long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction. Long-term abusers report withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, drug craving and decreased appetite. Chronic marijuana use has been shown to increase rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideas, and schizophrenia. Studies also show that marijuana smoke contains high concentrations of carcinogens and that smoking five joints a week is the equivalent of smoking a full pack of cigarettes every day.

Marijuana Facts and Statistics

* Marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.
* 25 million Americans over the age of 12 abused marijuana at least once in the previous year. (NSDUH, 2006)
* In 2006, 10.3 percent of 8th graders, 24.6 percent of 10th graders and 31.7 percent of 12th graders abused marijuana. (MTF, 2007)


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.