Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United
States. A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds,
and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Sedative
Usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It
also is smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of
tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another
drug. It might also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-
Contains 4-16% THC (60’s & 70’s = 1% THC…275% increase in last 15
Pot, dope, grass, weed, Mary Jane, chronic, reefer, ganja, kaya, doobie,
keef, herb, widow, and hash.
In 2004, 14.6 million Americans age 12 and older used
marijuana at least once in the month. About 6,000 people a
day in 2004 used marijuana for the first time—2.1 million
Americans. Of these, 63.8 percent were under age 18. In 2003,
marijuana was the third most commonly abused drug
mentioned in drug-related hospital emergency department
(ED) visits in the United States, at 12.6 percent, following
cocaine (20 percent) and alcohol (48.7 percent).
Who uses it?
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States.
1 in 4 12th graders say they are current users. Between 1991 and
2001, the number of 8th graders who used marijuana doubled
from one in ten to one in five.
In 2002, over 280,000 people entering drug treatment programs
reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse.
Short Term Effects
problems with memory and learning
distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
trouble with thinking and problem solving
loss of motor coordination
increased heart rate
Sleepiness and dizziness
Blood shot eyes, dry mouth, and dry throat
“Munchies”-increase of appetite
These effects are even greater when other drugs are
mixed with the marijuana; and users do not always
know what drugs are given to them.
Long Term Effects
Burn Out=apathetic, slow moving, dull, inattentive,
unaware of surroundings
Enhanced risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
Interferes w/ hormones that control sexual
development, fertility, and sexual functioning
Lowers the body’s Immune System
Permanent memory loss
Links to Lung Cancer
Why do young people use marijuana?
Many young people smoke marijuana because they see their brothers,
sisters, friends, or even older family members using it…others use
because of peer pressure.
Many think it’s cool to use marijuana because they hear songs about it
and see it on TV and in movies. Some teens may feel they need
marijuana and other drugs to help them escape from problems at home,
at school, or with friends.
Is marijuana sometimes used as a medicine?
THC, the active chemical in marijuana, is manufactured into a pill
available by prescription that can be used to treat the nausea and
vomiting that occur with certain cancer treatments and to help AIDS
patients eat more to keep up their weight.
According to scientists, more research needs to be done on THC's side
effects and other potential medical uses.