What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), pipes, or water pipes (bongs). When someone smokes marijuana, THC is rapidly passed from the lungs into the bloodstream and then carried to the brain and other organs in the body. Sometimes people mix it in food and eat it or brew it as a tea (edibles). Smoking oils, concentrates, and extracts from the marijuana plant are on the rise. People who use this practice call it “dabbing.”
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, and its use and potency has increased in recent years.
What is medical marijuana?
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.
Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are THC and CBD. THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems. Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn't make people "high." These drugs aren't popular for recreational use because they aren't intoxicating. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation and controlling epileptic seizures.
Because marijuana is often smoked, it can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system (e.g., heart and blood vessels). These and other damaging effects on the brain and body could make marijuana more harmful than helpful as a medicine. Another problem with marijuana as a medicine is that the ingredients aren’t exactly the same from plant to plant. There’s no way to know what kind and how much of a chemical you’re getting.
What are the street names for marijuana?
Pot, Weed, Ganja, Dope, Grass, Reefer, Mary Jane, Joint, Blunt and 420