Marijuana Addiction Facts

Street Names

WeedPotGrassHerbBudGanjaMary Jane

Warning Signs of Marijuana Abuse

Altered Sense of TimeBloodshot EyesIncreased AppetiteDry MouthIncreased Heart RateParanoiaUnusually Talkative

Introduction

Marijuana refers to a greenish mixture of the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant called Cannabis sativa. Marijuana is also referred to as weed, pot, grass, herb, bud, ganja, and Mary Jane, among others. Marijuana is most commonly smoked — some prefer to roll it up into small cigarettes called “joints” or larger cigars (often mixed with tobacco) called “blunts,” while others prefer to smoke it out of pipes or water pipes called “bongs.” Marijuana can also be used to brew teas, and is often baked into “edibles,” mixed into foods like brownies, cookies, and/or candy.

Forms of Marijuana

Higher potency forms of marijuana include concentrated resins, including hash oil (which resembles honey), budder (wax-like), and shatter (a harder form). These resins have adopted the term “dab,” or the act of “dabbing,” to refer to substances that hold higher doses of marijuana’s active ingredients.

Cannabis wax concentrate in clear plastic container.

The first and most and main chemical in marijuana is the mind-altering delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including more than 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. And the use of illicit drug is in and of itself a changing term as laws and regulations governing the sell and use of marijuana are changing due to the immense medical benefits that the plant carries.

When marijuana is smoked the chemicals from the plant pass through the lungs into the bloodstream, quickly being carried throughout the body and into the brain of the user.

Stash of marijuana and two joints

The effects experienced vary, some experience euphoria and a more relaxed state, while others become anxious, paranoid and/or nauseous.

The spectrum of effects is as vast as the different strains of this popular plant grown all over the world (including the United States).

The effects of ingesting marijuana are far more delayed than when it’s smoked, taking the effects between 30 minutes to an hour to kick in. Eating marijuana-infused foods delivers less THC into the bloodstream than smoking the same amount of marijuana.

Effects of Marijuana

The long-term effects of marijuana use on the body

The over-use of marijuana can result in extreme reactions — from hallucinations, acute psychosis, delusions, and diminished self-identity and cognitive skills. These side-effects are only temporary, as the effects of marijuana generally only last between 1 to 3 hours. (The THC does not, however, leave the body as quickly — taking anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.) Smoking marijuana does irritate the throat and lungs, raising the concern for cancer and lung disease.

Short-term effects of the drug included increased heart rate, enlarged breathing passages, expanded blood vessels in the eyes creating bloodshot eyes. Taking other drugs with marijuana can amplify this effect. More long-term effects include dependency and marijuana use disorder, which can take the form of addiction in several cases. This dependence on marijuana causes the user to experience withdrawal symptoms when not using, which is caused by the brain’s adapting to large amounts of the drug.

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