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modified on 3 April 2009 at 03:02 ••• 2,786 views

Marijuana

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Marijuana is a plant (cannabis sativa, cannabis indica) that contains a psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in its leaves, buds and flowers. Concentrations of THC may range widely from plant to plant, but most contain 2-5 percent THC. An identical plant known as hemp (cannabis sativa L) is used commercially to make, among other things, paper, clothing and building materials. Hemp contains less than 1 percent THC. Hashish, which contains marijuana flower resin, typically has 8-14 percent THC (Earleywine 2002).

Contents

SLANG

Pot, weed, herb, grass, chron or chronic, blunt, Mary Jane, boom, sticky green, Bombay, Indo, frosty leaves, spliff, dagga, bomb, shwag, dank, tress, doja.

AVAILABILITY & USE

Usually smoked, marijuana can be hand-rolled in a cigarette, called a “J” or “joint,” or stuffed into an emptied cigar, called a “blunt.” It may also be smoked in pipes or “bongs” made of glass, metal or wood. Sometimes it is brewed as a tea or mixed into food (such as brownies). Marijuana is easily accessible in urban, rural and suburban areas and is typically purchased in “nickels” ($5 bags), “dimes” ($10 bags), “dubs” or “twamps” ($20 bags), “quarters” ($40 bags). A dime bag typically contains enough marijuana for one joint.

RATES OF USE

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. By the time they graduate from high school, almost half of America’s teenagers admit to experimenting with marijuana. In 2002, 19 percent of 8th graders, 39 percent of tenth graders, and 48 percent of twelfth graders reported trying marijuana once or more (Johnston 2003). Use peaks between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five (Goode 1999; Earleywine 2002).


Effects

The effects of marijuana depend on the amount of THC absorbed and the method used (whether smoked or eaten). Smoking marijuana sends THC quickly through the lungs to the blood stream and into the brain (Earleywine 2002). The effect is almost immediate and typically lasts between one and two hours. When eaten, THC is absorbed more slowly, but the effect may be more intense and last much longer (Zimmer and Morgan 1997). Marijuana users report a wide variety of reactions, from peacefulness and euphoria to feeling silly or paranoid. Physical response includes reddening of the eyes, a slight increase in heart rate, and dryness of the mouth. Although users frequently experience hunger (the “munchies”), there is no drop in blood sugar levels.

SIGNS OF USE

The smell of marijuana, like the scent of burning leaves, may be the clearest indication of use. There are no fixed behavioral indicators, although some users may display giddiness, reddened eyes, clumsiness, short-term memory lapses, increased appetite, and lethargy.

RECOMMENDED READING

Earleywine, Mitch. 2002. Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press,. ISBN: 0195138937. Zimmer, Lynn and John P. Morgan. 1997. Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence. New York: The Lindesmith Center, 1997. ISBN: 0964156849.

REFERENCES

Earleywine, Mitch. 2002. Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press. Goode, Erich. 1999. Drugs in American Society. Boston: Mc-Graw Hill College. Horton, Richard. 1995. Deglamorising Cannabis. Lancet 346:1241. Johnston, L.D, P.M. O’Malley and J.G. Bachman. 2003. Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975- 2002. Volume 1: Secondary school students. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.monitoringthefuture.org. Zimmer, Lynn and John P. Morgan. 1997. Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence. New York: The Lindesmith Center.

  • Credits: FACTS about DRUGS: MARIJUANA - www.safety1st.org