Marijuana – Drug Facts

Marijuana, also known by THC, is a cannabis plant.  The dried flower clusters and leaves of the plant are usually smoked.  Many products are made and consumed by users of the drug.  Marijuana is a concoction of dried, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves.  Abusers of the drug are attracted to the active chemical in the plate, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Marijuana users roll the dried mixture into a cigarette (joint) or smoke the dried mixture in a glass container half filled with water (bong).  The instruments used to administer the drug are referred to as “Drug Paraphernalia.”  The mixture is placed in a separate pipe-like bowl coming from the bottom of the bong.  Once the bong is lit, the vapour coming from the mixture allows rapid absorption into the lungs, and ultimately to organs throughout the body.  Users also empty the tobacco from a blunt
cigar (which has an outer tobacco leaf as the wrapper), and the tobacco cylinder is refilled with a mixture of tobacco and marijuana  The dried mix from the plant can also be brewed in tea or mixed in brownies, other foods and drinks.

Other Forms of the Drug:

  • Resinous From = Hashish
  • Sticky Black Liquids = Hash Oil
  • Smoke Oder = Pungent, Sweet-and-Sour

How THC (Marijuana) Affects the Brain:

  • THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream
  • Chemical is carried to the brain, other organs, and throughout the body
    Acts on cannabinoid receptors
  • Series of cellular reactions lead to the “high” reported by users

The highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, and effect:

  • Pleasure
  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Concentration
  • Sensory Perception
  • Time Perception
  • Coordinated Movement
  • Difficulty with Thinking
  • Difficulty with Learning
  • Difficulty with Problem Solving
  • Difficulty with Coordination
  • Difficulty with Memory

Long-Term Marijuana Abuse Can:

  • Lead to addiction to other drugs
  • Impair functioning within a family unit
  • Impair school work and activities
  • Impair work production and performance
  • Decrease recreational activities

Researchers conclude of the long-term users of THC, roughly 9 precent become addicted to the drug.  Users starting younger have a 17 precent chance of becoming addicted, and users abusing marijuana daily have a 25-50 precent chance of becoming addicted.

Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Drug Craving

The Above Symptom:

  • Begin within 1 day of non-use
  • Peak at 2-3 days
  • Stop within 1 to 2 weeks

Long-Term Users and Health Issues:

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Shizophrenia
  • Produce a psychotic reaction
  • May trigger onset or relapse of schizophrenia
  • Heart rate increases 20-100 precent after smoking the drug
  • Users have 4.8-fold increase of risk of heart attack
  • Effects heart rhythms; palpitations and arrhythmias
  • Carcinogens, may irritate the lungs
  • May cause decrease in growth of epithelial cells in lung tissue

Effects on Daily Life:

  • Impaired “life achievement”
  • Impaired physical health
  • Impaired mental health
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Decrease in social life and social activities
  • Decline in career status and career goals
  • Increased absences, both work and school
  • Tardiness, both work and school
  • Accidents, auto, home, work and school
  • Worker’s Compensation Claims increase
  • Job turn over

In 2009:

  • 11.8 precent of the nation’s 8th graders reported using marijuana
  • 26.7 precent of 10th graders reported using marijuana
  • 32.8 precent of 12th graders reported using THC
  • 2009 showed an overall declined in THC use among 8th and 10th graders