Marijuana

Street Names:

"Pot," "Grass," "Weed," "Mary Jane," "Acapulco Gold," "Bud," "Dope," "Hydro," and "Reefer"

"...most parents are amazed at the extent of marijuana use by their son or daughter. In almost every case, parents thought that their student only used occasionally. Almost always, student use of marijuana was much greater than parents thought or were willing to admit." Marijuana - An Educator's Perspective (Click for the complete story.)

Chemical Composition:

Marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. It contains over 400 different chemicals from which over 60 are identified as cannabinoids, chemicals specific to the cannabis plant. One of the cannabinoids, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is considered the major psychoactive ingredient.

Marijuana smoke contains toxic chemicals: carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, phenol, creosol and naphthalene.

Tobacco-like marijuana is made from the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant.

 

Characteristics:

Marijuana is much more potent today than it was in the '60s and '70s when the THC content ranged from 0.3 percent to 3 percent. Today, the THC content is typically 5-10 percent but can reach as high as 30 percent with high-tech growing methods.

Within a few minutes of smoking marijuana a person may feel intoxicated and or euphoric lasting two to three hours. Some report feeling thirsty, hungry (the munchies) and sleepy. They can experience dizziness, nausea, relaxation, increased sociability, heightened sensory perception and time distortions.

Marijuana is addictive, with known dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

"I was deeply unhappy, but since pot had long since destroyed my ability to feel real emotions, I couldn't admit to myself how unhappy I was. Instead, I just looked forward to the next toke." "Love Affair " - A Recovering Addict (Click for the complete story.)

Methods of Use:

The plant material is dried and then rolled into a cigarette. A cigar may be sliced open and the tobacco replaced with marijuana (blunt). Marijuana is used in food and brewed as tea.

Hashish is made from the sticky resin of the female plant flowers; the resin is rich in THC. The resin is collected, dried, and compressed into shapes and then pieces are broken off and put in pipes to be smoked. The THC level can range up to 28 percent.

Hash oil is distilled from the Cannabis plant material using a solvent. A drop or two of the dark liquid on a cigarette is comparable to a marijuana cigarette. The THC level averages 16 percent but can reach much higher levels.

Risks:

The THC in marijuana is, unlike other drugs, fat-soluble; it stays stored in the body's fat cells for weeks, even months.

Marijuana contains more carcinogens than a tobacco cigarette.

Marijuana alone impairs driving. Alcohol and marijuana together produce higher intoxication than marijuana alone or alcohol alone. Studies show that low to moderate doses of alcohol and THC in combination is exceedingly dangerous and renders a driver incapable of driving safely.

The THC in marijuana has the capacity to decrease sperm production and increase abnormal sperm cells. It disrupts hormone cycles in females.

Marijuana compromises the immune system. It permanently impairs the immune system by inhibiting the formation of DNA in germ cells (lymphocytes).

Mental and emotional deterioration can occur causing a personality change that includes apathy, aimlessness, passivity, lack of ambition and an inability to communicate.

"I compare my use with a love affair because there truly was romance involved. When I was stoned, everything seemed larger-than-life. I felt like I was starring in a spy movie and comedy at the same time." "Love Affair" - A Recovering Addict (Click for the complete story.)

Marijuana impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, learning and motor coordination. The users have difficulty sorting out information, synthesizing and classifying information correctly, and understanding subtle shades of meaning. It can take up to six weeks to regain normal functioning.

"Without exception, students were doing relatively well with their grades in junior high school. Often the ninth grade year went well. But, a definite pattern emerges. Once students started using marijuana, grades declined rapidly, school attendance became a problem, most dropped out of extracurricular activities, problems with police were common, and conflict within the family was almost always admitted." Marijuana - An Educator's Perspective (Click for the complete story.)

Marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead to other drugs.

"A guy named Thoreau said, 'I can't make my days longer, so I can only try to make them better.' I'm pretty sure he didn't smoke weed.""Love Affair" - A Recovering Addict (Click for the complete story.)

Sources:

Marijuana and Medicine
Edited by: Gabriel G. Nahas,
Kenneth M. Sutin, David J.
Harvey, Stig Agurell
Humana Press
Totowa, New Jersey 07512

Federal Register
"Denial of Petition: Notice"
Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Agency
April 18, 2001
www.dea.gov

"The Dangers of Marijuana"
Educating Voices, Inc.
P.O. Box 6084
Naperville, IL 60567
April 2000
www.educatingvoices.com

Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIH Publication Number 98-4037
Printed in 1995, Revised in November 1998
www.drugabuse.gov

"Marijuana, Alcohol and Actual Driving Performance"
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
DOT HS 808 939
July 1999