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What is marijuana?

Marijuana consists of dried, shredded flowers and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Technically, marijuana is a hallucinogen, but it also acts as a depressant and stimulant, and many states classify it as a narcotic.


How is marijuana used?

Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe or a bong. In recent years, marijuana has appeared in blunts - cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana and sometimes other drugs, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.


How does marijuana work?

The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC initiates a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. These reactions increase heart rate and blood pressure, decrease body temperature decreases, stimulate appetite, distort perceptions of time and distance, and affect taste, smell, hearing, and vision. Users often experience loss of willpower and motivation and may have problems with memory and learning, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination, anxiety, and panic attacks. It is possible to overdose on marijuana, and the overdose symptoms include fatigue, lack of coordination, paranoia, and possible psychosis.


What are marijuana's possible long-term side effects?

Regular marijuana smokers tend to have the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm, chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. The amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. Research has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily.


Is marijuana addictive?

Many experts say yes, it is at least psychologically addictive, if not physically so. Withdrawal symptoms may include insomnia, hyperactivity, and loss of appetite.


What are some common names for marijuana?

Common street names for marijuana include pot, chronic, hash, dope, blunt, joint, reefer, weed, grass, THC, and gangster.