Marijuana is a drug that comes from the cannabis sativa plant. The active ingredient is THC, the chemical in cannabis which makes people feel 'high'. Marijuana is usually smoked in in pipes or in the form of 'joints' which are hand-rolled cigarettes. Marijuana can also be smoked in water pipes which are commonly referred to as 'bongs'or mixed with food such as cookies and cakes and eaten. When smoked it usually affects the person quite quickly, but if eaten it can take longer to have an effect. When cannabis is smoked, THC quickly moves into the blood and through the lungs. This drug is a depressant that affects the brain, causing a feeling of being 'high' or 'stoned'. It can take up to 10 days to 2 weeks for a single dose of THC to fully leave the body. Why do teens turn to Marijuana? Many young people use cannabis to forget their problems, curiosity and peer pressure.
The effects of marijuana vary from person to person depending on:
*whether cannabis is taken with other drugs
*how strong the cannabis is
*how the cannabis is taken (in a joint or bong, eaten with food)
*the person's mood at the time
*the person's experience with cannabis
*the health, weight, size, and of the person
*how much is taken
*the environment, ie. alone, at home or at a party or with other people.
Effects of marijuana:
*talking and laughing more than usual
*decreased coordination and balance
*doing or saying things which the person normally wouldn't
*having a faster heart rate
*having red eyes
*low blood pressure, increased heart rate.
*feelings of slowing down and sleepiness.
*reaction time is decreased
*see or hear things which are not there
*anxiousness or feeling panicky
*feel distant or separate from reality.
Damage caused by using marijuana:
*an increased risk of getting lung cancer, bronchitis and other diseases of the respiratory system
*a decrease in motivation
*a decrease in concentration, memory and ability to learn new things
*a decrease in sex drive
*a decrease in sperm count in men
*irregular menstrual cycles in women
*symptoms of psychotic mental illness or depression
*teens who start using cannabis when they are young can be more likely to develop a mental *illness such as schizophrenia
*teens who use cannabis are at greater risk of depression and anxiety
*greater risk of harm to an unborn baby if the mother uses cannabis during pregnancy because THC passes from the mother to the baby through the placenta.
Mixing cannabis with other drugs:
Many teens are mixing marijuana with alcohol and other drugs. It is very dangerous to mix other drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs with cannabis. This is because the effects of cannabis can become stronger.