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Facts about Marijuana

  • Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant.
  • There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana.
  • All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works.
  • Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or a nail) or in a pipe or a bong. Recently, it has appeared in cigars called blunts.
  • THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.
  • Sometimes marijuana makes users feel thirsty and very hungry - an effect called "the munchies."
  • Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception.
  • It's hard to know for sure whether regular marijuana use causes cancer. But it is known that marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
  • Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per day may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.
  • Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. For example, the risk of using cocaine is 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it.
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, one of nearly 400 chemicals in a hemp plant, accounts for most of marijuana's psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects.
  • The strength of the drug is determined by the amount of THC it contains.
  • Most ordinary marijuana has an average of 3 percent THC.
  • A typical joint contains between 0.5 and 1.0 gram of cannabis plant matter, which varies in THC content between 5 and 150 milligrams.
  • Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.
  • Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, users likely experience dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction times, along with intoxication.
  • THC suppresses the neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation.
  • Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of the lungs and airways. Scientists have found signs of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke.
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