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Alcohol & Drug Info

Marijuana

What is marijuana?


Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). It contains over 400 different chemicals. Sixty-one of these chemicals are called "cannabinoids" and are found only in the cannabis plant. The most important cannabinoid is THC. This is the chemical that is mostly responsible for marijuana's effects.

What are the effects of marijuana?

The positive effects are a feeling of well being similar to the use of alcohol. You often become relaxed and talk and laugh more and lose your inhibitions.

The negative effects are short-term memory loss, an increase in appetite, reddened eyes and impairment of balance, vision and coordination.

How does marijuana work?

THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannaninol) is absorbed into the bloodstream and plasma and is stored in body fat. Because of this storage in fat the cannabinoids can stay in the body from several days to several months, depending on how heavy use is. The action of the chemicals in the brain produces the "stoned" feeling.

Does marijuana always work in the same way?

The effect of any drug depends on many things: how it is used, how often it is used, how much of the drug is taken, your personality, your mood, the people you are with, whether you are using other drugs at the same time, your age and gender and if you have used the drug before.

Is all marijuana the same quality?

Quality varies a lot according to the quality of the plant that it came from, what part of the plant was used and how the person growing and harvesting it handled it. Added to this there is no way of knowing how much THC is in the marijuana. The higher the THC content the more powerful the effects are likely to be. One joint could be 5-10 times stronger than another.

Does marijuana use have any long term negative effects?

People can become dependent on marijuana. They might find it hard to control their use or to give up. Marijuana use can trigger schizophrenia (a mental health problem) in people who are vulnerable to it. People with a history of mental health problems may have a higher risk of this.