What is Marijuana? Marijuana, the most often used illegal drug in this country, is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana, also present in other forms of cannabis, is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the roughly 400 chemicals found in the cannabis plant, THC affects the brain the most.
How is it used? Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a “joint”, cigars called “blunts” or in a water pipe called a “bong”.
What are its short-term effects? Short-term effects of marijuana include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, and touch), trouble with thinking and problem- solving, and loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, and anxiety. These effects are even greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana. A user may also experience dry mouth and throat.
What are its long-term effects? Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.