STREET NAMES/SLANG TERMS: Pot, Reefer, Grass, Dope, Mary Jane, Ganja, Hash, Blunts, Aunt Mary
DESCRIPTION: Marijuana, the most often used illegal drug in this country, is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana, also present in other forms of cannabis, is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the roughly 400 chemicals found in the cannabis plant, THC affects the brain the most.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).
HOW IS IT USED? Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a "joint". Weed can be smoked in a water pipe, called a "bong", or mixed into food or brewed as tea. It has also appeared in cigars called "blunts".
SHORT TERM EFFECTS: Short-term effects of marijuana include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, and anxiety. These effects are even greater when other drugs are mixed with weed. A user may also experience dry mouth and throat.
LONG TERM EFFECTS: Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day. High doses of marijuana can result in hallucinations. Marijuana smokers experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Extended use is associated with anti-motivational syndrome, lung damage, and risk to reproductive systems.