Marijuana is a commonly abused drug. It is often called pot, grass, weed, or 420.
Marijuana cigarettes are commonly referred to as joints or spliffs, and the
butt of a marijuana cigarette is called a roach. Marijuana can be eaten, brewed
in tea, or smoked. In the United States, it is most often smoked in rolled
joints, in pipes (bongs), or in hollowed-out cigars (blunts).
effects of marijuana depend on the strength and potency of its main active
chemical, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some people feel
relaxed or high after smoking marijuana. Other people feel no change. The
effects can be felt in seconds after inhaling and within 30 to 60 minutes
after eating it. Effects last about 2 to 3 hours.
A person who has
just had marijuana usually has dilated pupils and may have red, bloodshot eyes.
He or she may behave differently, such as seeming to be dizzy and to have
trouble walking or being silly and giggly for no reason. After smoking
marijuana, some people may feel hungry (commonly referred to as having "the
munchies") or sleepy. Sometimes people have negative effects from marijuana,
such as sudden feelings of anxiety or paranoid thoughts.
Marijuana can cause problems that affect your body and mind.
Frequent, heavy use of marijuana can lead to needing
increasing amounts of it to get the same feelings (tolerance) and possibly to
dependence (addiction). If daily use is stopped, flu-like withdrawal symptoms
and craving for the drug can develop within 24 to 48 hours and last about 2
Long-term, regular use of marijuana may contribute to
developing some kinds of cancer, breathing problems similar to smoking (cough
and wheezing), and a weakened immune system. Long-term heavy use can lead to
reduced motivation and to difficulty maintaining attention to what's going on
Marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in
various organs of the body. The chemical THC usually can be detected in urine
several days after marijuana has been smoked. If marijuana is used heavily,
traces of THC may be detected in urine for weeks after use has stopped.
Changes in a person's behavior that may
indicate marijuana use include:
When a teen is using marijuana, the parent may find
evidence of the drug and drug paraphernalia, including pipes and rolling
papers, in the teen's bedroom. There may be a noticeable sweet odor on the
teen's clothing. The teen may burn incense or use room deodorizers to get rid
of the marijuana smell. The teen may also use eyedrops to get rid of bloodshot
Synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids, are sold as substances having effects like those of marijuana. These drugs, sold in the form of bath salts or incense, are made in labs and have many names, such as K2 or Spice. Even though they are labeled "not for human consumption," people are more likely to try them since they are easily bought in stores and online and can't be detected by drug screenings. Also, people think they will feel the same as when they use marijuana. But these drugs are stronger than marijuana, and they are not safer than marijuana. Some people have reported severe symptoms, such as:
November 15, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
& Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
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