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Drug Information > Marijuana

Drug Appearance:

Generally, marijuana is a mixture of green, brown, or gray tobacco-like plant material.

Street Name(s):

Dope  Weed  Pot  Reefer Cronic


Plastic baggies, rolling paper, roach clips, odor of burnt rope

Signs of Use:

Altered perception, dilated pupils, lack of concentration and coordination, craving for sweets, increased appetite, laughter


-Initial effects- Impaired attention and coordination can lead to harmful accidents. Higher doses may result in image distortion, loss of personal identity, and hallucinations.

-Long-term effects- Impaired memory and learning ability, increased heart rate, anxiety, panic attacks, and psychological dependence. Smoking can lead to frequent respiratory infections, chronic cough, bronchitis, emphysema, phlegm, and increases the risk of cancer of the head, neck, and lungs.

Further Information

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance in the world today. It's use is also the most controversial. With legalization efforts underway, it is important to have the facts.

Marijuana is made from the plant cannabis sativa, a plant that grows wild (and is also cultivated indoors and out) throughout many regions. Most of the marijuana used in the United States comes from sources in the U.S., Mexico ("Mexican Red/Brown"), and Canada ("BC Bud").

Marijuana consists of the buds, leaves, and resin of the cannabis plant. The stalks and sterilized seeds are considered "hemp."

The plant, cannabis sativa, contains chemicals called "cannabinoids." THC (delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid believed to be responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

THC can be found in all parts of the cannabis plant, including hemp. This is why hemp is regulated carefully--some hemp products such as clothing, rope, yarn, lotion and soap are legal products because they do not cause THC to enter the human body.

Synthetic THC: Medical Marijuana already exists.

" A pharmaceutical product, Marinol, is widely available through prescription. It comes in the form of a pill and is also being studied by researchers for suitability via other delivery methods, such as an inhaler or patch. The active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to assist with loss of appetite with AIDS patients. Another product, Cesamet, which is similar to Marinol, is to be released in the U.S. in June of 2006.

"There are no FDA-approved medications that are smoked. For one thing, smoking is generally a poor way to deliver medicine. It is difficult to administer safe, regulated dosages of medicines in smoked form. Secondly, the harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are byproducts of smoking create entirely new health problems. There are four times the level of tar in a marijuana cigarette, for example, than in a tobacco cigarette." (Source: "Medical" Marijuana: The Facts, DEA)

"Smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco. Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. It also produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their carcinogenic form--levels that may accelerate the canges that ultimately produce malignant cells." (Source: NIDA)

"It has been estimated that smoking a cannabis cigarette (containing only herbal cannabis) results in an approximately five-fold greater increase in carboxyhaemoglobin concentration, a three-fold greater increase in the amount of tar inhaled, and a retention in the respiratory tract of one third more tar than smoking a tobacco cigarette." (Source: British Medical Association)

The majority of marijuana is smoked, although some users ingest it orally (added to brownies, cookies, etc.). Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of loosely rolled cigarettes called "joints," hollowed out commercial cigars called "blunts," smoked in pipes or bongs. Joints and blunts are sometimes laced with a number of adulterants including PCP, cocaine and embalming fluid (a chemical traditionally used to preserve dead bodies)--resulting in a wide range of effects


Substance: Urine Hair Saliva
11-Nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid Occasional use: 1 to 3 days
habitual/chronic use: up to 30 days
up to 90 days less than 24 hours

    *Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacture among other restrictions. Schedule I drugs are available for research only and have no approved medical use. Schedule II drugs are available only through prescription, cannot have refills and require a form for ordering. Schedule III and IV drugs are available with prescription, may have 5 refills in 6 months and may be ordered orally. Most Schedule V drugs are available over the counter.