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What is marijuana?
Is marijuana addictive?
What treatments are
available for marijuana?
Where can I buy a
home drug test for marijuana?
What is marijuana? (top)
Marijuana is a
greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and
flowers of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant. The main active chemical in
marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes the
mind-altering effects of marijuana intoxication.
What are other names for
There are countless
street terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow,
ganja, and hash.
Is marijuana addictive? (top)
use can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they use the drug
compulsively even though it often interferes with family, school, work,
and recreational activities.
Along with craving,
withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to
stop using the drug. People trying to quit report irritability,
difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. They also display increased aggression
on psychological tests, peaking approximately 1 week after they last
used the drug.
How is marijuana used? (top)
Marijuana usually is
smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is
smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and
refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug. It
might also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated,
resinous form it is called hashish and, as a sticky black liquid, hash
Marijuana smoke has a
pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.
What are the acute
effects of marijuana use? (top)
When marijuana is
smoked, its effects begin immediately after the drug enters the brain
and last from 1 to 3 hours. If marijuana is consumed in food or drink,
the short-term effects begin more slowly, usually in 1/2 to 1 hour, and
last longer, for as long as 4 hours. Smoking marijuana deposits several
times more THC into the blood than does eating or drinking the drug.
Within a few minutes
after inhaling marijuana smoke, an individual's heart begins beating
more rapidly, the bronchial passages relax and become enlarged, and
blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the eyes look red.
As THC enters the
brain, it causes a user to feel euphoric - or "high" - by acting in the
brain's reward system, areas of the brain that respond to stimuli such
as food and drink as well as most drugs of abuse. THC activates the
reward system in the same way that nearly all drugs of abuse do, by
stimulating brain cells to release the chemical dopamine.
A marijuana user
may experience pleasant sensations, colors and sounds may seem more
intense, and time appears to pass very slowly. The user's mouth feels
dry, and he or she may suddenly become very hungry and thirsty. His or
her hands may tremble and grow cold. The euphoria passes after awhile,
and then the user may feel sleepy or depressed. Occasionally, marijuana
use produces anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.
marijuana use affect physical health? (top)
Marijuana use can
cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, often accompanied by
a heavy cough. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of
the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do, such as daily
cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, a
heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward
Cancer of the
respiratory tract and lungs may also be promoted by marijuana smoke. A
study comparing 173 cancer patients and 176 healthy individuals produced
strong evidence that smoking marijuana increases the likelihood of
developing cancer of the head or neck, and that the more marijuana
smoked, the greater the increase. A statistical analysis of the data
suggested that marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of these
Marijuana has the
potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the
respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens. In
fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more
carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. It also produces high
levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their
carcinogenic form, levels that may accelerate the changes that
ultimately produce malignant cells. Marijuana users usually inhale more
deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which
increases the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. These facts suggest
that, puff for puff, smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer
more than smoking tobacco does.
are available for marijuana? (top)
directed solely at marijuana abuse are rare, partly because many who use
marijuana do so in combination with other drugs, such as cocaine and
alcohol. However, with more people seeking help to control marijuana
abuse, research has focused on ways to overcome problems with abuse of
No medications are now
available to treat marijuana abuse. However, recent discoveries about
the workings of THC receptors have raised the possibility that
scientists may eventually develop a medication that will block THC's
intoxicating effects. Such a medication might be used to prevent relapse
to marijuana abuse by reducing or eliminating its appeal.
here to buy home test kits for marijuana.