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Marijuana is made from leaves and flowers of the hemp (cannabis) plant. It is illegal to grow and use in most parts of the country although, in several states, it is legal for medicinal purposes. It is highly likely, however, that most buyers in these situations are recreational users.

Addiction experts agree that this drug is addictive, that it can be a gateway drug to other dangerous drugs, and that it can disrupt healthy lifestyles. Because “pot” is sold illegally, the buyer cannot be sure what exactly he is getting. Some drugs sold as marijuana actually contain more lethal ingredients.

Slang terms:

  • Cannabis
  • Bud
  • Smoke
  • Chronic
  • Herb
  • Reefer
  • Pot
  • Weed
  • Garage
  • Dope
  • Marijuana
  • Skunk

Intoxication terms:

  • High
  • Loaded
  • Baked
  • Roasted
  • Buzzed
  • Stoned

How is it used?

  • Dried leaves are hand-rolled into cigarettes called joints or stuffed into hollowed-out cigars called blunts.
  • The leaves are smoked in small pipes known as one-hitters or tooters or in a larger water pipe called a bong.
  • Smoke is inhaled and held in the lungs as long as possible to maximize effects.
  • The drug is also mixed into food and eaten or brewed with hot water to make a tea.

Signs of usage:

  • Dilated pupils
  • A lack of focus or slowed/changed speech
  • Use of heavy perfumes or air fresheners (to cover the distinctive odor of marijuana smoke)
  • Burn marks on the lips from the bong or “roach”

Effects of usage:

  • Impaired brain function
  • Deficiency in attention, memory, learning, and integration of sensory experiences with motivation and emotions
  • Impaired reaction time, motor skills and ability to maintain and shift attention
  • Heightened sense of sociability
  • Giddiness
  • Food craving

How long do the effects last?
Effects peak within 20 minutes and last two to three hours.

Effects of withdrawal:

  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate

Adverse reactions
Marijuana users may experience panic or anxiety attacks.

Effects of prolonged usage:

  • Respiratory problems such as nagging coughs, frequent chest colds, chronic bronchitis, and increased risk of pneumonia are all possible consequences of prolonged use of marijuana.
  • Long-term use can adversely affect the immune system and reproductive system.

Dangerous developments
Marijuana is being used in combination with other illegal drugs and is a delivery medium for other drugs. Crack, psilocybin mushrooms, ketamine, or PCP are sometimes added to a marijuana joint. Slang names for the combinations vary according to geographic locations.

Joints (or “blunts”) containing PCP are known as:

  • Love boats
  • Honey-dipped joints
  • Happy sticks
  • Sherms
  • Dust blunts

Dipping marijuana joints into other chemicals such as formaldehyde, embalming fluid or formaldehyde mixed with PCP enhances the effects of marijuana and makes the joints and blunts burn longer. The PCP combination produces aggressive behavior in the users. Variations make marijuana smoking even more unpredictable, particularly to unsuspecting novice users.

Marijuana is often used in combination with drinking alcohol. Many people have smoked pot for decades and have lost countless hours of productive work or have lost the experience of authentic and rewarding relationships. They are often unable to cope with daily stresses without being high.