Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. In 1997, 49.6% of high-school seniors reported using marijuana at least once, up from 32.6% in 1992.
Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint), in a pipe or bong, or in a cigar emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana (called a blunt). It may be combined with another drug (such as crack), mixed into foods or brewed as tea.
Slang terms for marijuana include pot, grass, weed, reefer and Mary Jane.
THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The THC content of marijuana has increased from less than one percent in 1974 to current THC levels ranging up to 17%.
Marijuana addiction accounts for more than 120,000 treatment admissions per year. Current studies suggest marijuana causes both psychological and physical dependence.
Possible effects of marijuana include:
- Euphoria followed by relaxation
- Animated behavior and loud talking, followed by sleepiness
- Dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Impaired memory, concentration and knowledge retention
- Distortions in depth and time perception, loss of coordination
- Heightened sense of taste, sight, smell or sound, hallucinations
- Lower achievement
- Increase in delinquent, deviant, aggressive or rebellious behavior
- Relationship and family problems
- Lung and respiratory system irritations and/or disease
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