May 24, 2024

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, also known as weed, dope, or pot, is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. The main psychoactive compound in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which produces the feeling of being “high.”

Methods of Use:

Traditionally, marijuana was smoked in a cigarette (joint) or pipe. Today, vaping with vape pens is a more common method. Edibles, such as brownies, teas, gummies, or infused drinks, offer another way to ingest marijuana. Highly concentrated forms like wax or oil can be inhaled using “dab pens” in a process called “dabbing.”

Synthetic Marijuana:

Synthetic marijuana, also known as “fake weed,” is a lab-created substance designed to mimic the effects of THC. It’s unregulated and potentially dangerous, with unpredictable and harmful effects. Withdrawal symptoms from synthetic marijuana can be more severe and longer-lasting than those from THC products.

Effects of Marijuana:

Marijuana has both short-term and long-term effects that vary depending on the amount consumed and the individual. Smoking marijuana produces quicker effects compared to edibles.

Short-Term Effects:

  • Relaxation
  • Increased appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Altered perception (colors may seem brighter)
  • Anxiety and paranoia (in some cases)
  • Short-term psychosis with hallucinations (rare)
  • Impaired driving skills (increased risk of accidents)

Long-Term Effects:

  • Difficulty with memory, multitasking, and focus
  • Increased coughing, lung infections, and potential lung scarring
  • Increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
  • Dependence and development of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) – characterized by an inability to quit despite negative consequences on health, social life, and school/work performance. CUD can lead to:
    • Difficulty in social situations
    • Memory problems
    • Struggles in school or work

Secondhand Marijuana Smoke/Vapor:

Exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke or vapor can cause lung irritation, asthma flare-ups, and potential intoxication due to inhaled THC.

Quitting Marijuana:

Withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and loss of appetite can occur when quitting marijuana use. These symptoms are usually worse within a day or two of quitting but gradually lessen over a week or two. Counseling can be a valuable resource for those seeking support to quit marijuana.

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