Marijuana

The main mind-altering (psychoactive) ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The amount of THC in the marijuana determines how strong its effects will be. Hashish is made by taking the resin from the leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant and pressing it into cakes or slabs.

Some immediate physical effects include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, and a dry mouth and throat. Studies show impaired or reduced short-term memory, altered sense of time and a reduction in the ability to do things which require concentration, fast reactions and coordination.

Marijuana is made from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. For more information, see the Marijuana Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Blunt, Bud, Dope, Ganja, Grass, Green, Herb, Joint, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Trees, Weed; Hashish: Boom, Gangster, Hash, Hemp Various brand names in states where the sale of marijuana is legal Greenish-gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and/or flowers; resin (hashish) or sticky, black liquid (hash oil) Smoked, eaten (mixed in food or brewed as tea) I**
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Enhanced sensory perception and euphoria followed by drowsiness/relaxation; slowed reaction time; problems with balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; problems with learning and memory; hallucinations; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis.
Long-term Mental health problems, chronic cough, frequent respiratory infections.
Other Health-related Issues Youth: possible loss of IQ points when repeated use begins in adolescence.

Pregnancy: babies born with problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased heart rate, blood pressure; further slowing of mental processing and reaction time.
Withdrawal Symptoms Irritability, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, anxiety.
Treatment Options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat marijuana addiction.
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Behavioral treatments geared to adolescents

How can you tell if a friend is using?

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell unless you see the person using. There is a difference between using, abusing and feeling addicted. Marijuana is not physically addictive, but can become psychologically addictive. Signs of use can include:

  • Decreased motivation
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Memory and learning decrease
  • Distorted perception
  • Cough, phlegm
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Hair and clothing smells of smoke
  • Paraphernalia

If marijuana controls your friend’s life, it’s a problem. Signs include:

  • difficulty limiting use
  • friend needs more to get the same effect
  • develops problems with personal relationships
  • develops problems with school/ work

Resources:

Marijuana Anonymous

National Institute on Drug Abuse