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FAQ About Marijuana


Pictures of MarijuanaQ.) What is marijuana?

A.) Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). It is the most often used illegal drug in this country. All forms of cannabis are mind-altering (psychoactive) drugs that contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. There are about 400 chemicals in a cannabis plant, but THC is the one that affects the brain the most.


Q.) What the slang terms used for marijuana?

A.) There are many different names for marijuana. Slang terms for drugs change quickly, and they vary from one part of the country to another. They may even differ across sections of a large city. Terms from years ago, such as pot, herb, grass, weed, Mary Jane, and reefer, are still used. You might also hear the names skunk, boom, gangster, kif, or ganja. There are also street names for different strains or "brands" of marijuana, such as "Texas tea," "Maui wowie," and "Chronic." A recent book of American slang lists more than 200 terms for various kinds of marijuana.


Q.) How is Marijuana used?

A.) Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette (called a "joint"). The drug can also be smoked in a water pipe, called a "bong." Some users mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew a tea. Marijuana cigarettes or blunts often include crack cocaine, a combination known by various street names such as "primos" or "woolies." Joints and blunts often are dipped in PCP and are called "happy sticks," "wicky sticks," "love boat," or "tical." Hash users either smoke the drug in a pipe or mix it with tobacco and smoke it as a cigarette. Lately, young people have a new method for smoking marijuana: they slice open cigars and replace the tobacco with marijuana, making what's called a "blunt." When the blunt is smoked with a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor, it is called a "B-40."


Q.) What does it mean to be "high" due to Marijuana?

A.) The most commonly reported effects of smoked marijuana are a sense of well-being or euphoria and increased talkativeness and laughter, alternating with periods of introspective dreaminess, followed by lethargy and sleepiness. A characteristic feature of a marijuana "high" is a distortion in the sense of time associated with deficits in short-term memory and learning. A marijuana smoker typically has a sense of enhanced physical and emotional sensitivity, including a feeling of greater interpersonal closeness. The most obvious behavioral abnormality displayed by someone under the influence of marijuana is difficulty in carrying on an intelligible conversation, perhaps because of an inability to remember what was just said even a few words earlier.


Q.) What is THC?

A.) THC is the chemical in marijuana which makes you feel "high" (which means experiencing a change in mood and seeing or feeling things differently). Certain parts of the plant contain higher levels of THC. The flowers or "buds" have more THC than the stems or leaves.

When marijuana is smoked, THC goes quickly into the blood through the lungs and then to the brain (this is when the "high" is felt and can happen within a few minutes and can last up to five hours). THC is absorbed more slowly into the blood when marijuana is eaten because it has to pass through the stomach and intestine and can take up to one hour to experience the "high" effects, which can last up to 12 hours. THC is absorbed quickly into body fat and is then released very slowly back into the blood. This process can take up to one month for a single dose of THC to fully leave the body.


Q.) What is the average amount of THC in marijuana?

A.) Marijuana's effect on the user depends on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. THC potency has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s. The strength of the drug is measured by the average amount of THC in test samples confiscated by law enforcement agencies.

  • Most ordinary marijuana has an average of 3 percent THC.
  • Sinsemilla (made from just the buds and flowering tops of female plants) has an average of 7.5 percent THC, with a range as high as 24 percent.
  • Hashish (the sticky resin from the female plant flowers) has an average of 3.6 percent, with a range as high as 28 percent.
  • Hash oil, a tar-like liquid distilled from hashish, has an average of 16 percent, with a range as high as 43 percent.

Q.) What are the signs that individual using marijuana?

A.) The sings that an individual is using marijuana includes but is not limited to:

  • seem dizzy and have trouble walking
  • seem silly and giggly for no reason
  • have very red, bloodshot eyes
  • have a hard time remembering things that just happened
  • signs of drugs and drug paraphernalia, including pipes and rolling papers
  • odor on clothes and in the bedroom
  • use of incense and other deodorizers
  • use of eye drops
  • clothing, posters, jewelry, etc., promoting drug use


Q.) Do Marijuana users lose their motivation?

A.) Some frequent, long-term marijuana users show a lack of motivation (amotivational syndrome). Their problems include not caring about what happens in their lives, no desire to work regularly, fatigue, and a lack of concern about how they look. As a result of these symptoms, some users tend to perform poorly in school or at work. Scientists are still studying these problems.


Q.) Does using Marijuana lead to other drugs?

A.) Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other drugs without first trying marijuana. The risk of using cocaine has been estimated to be more than 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it. Although there are no definitive studies on the factors associated with the movement from marijuana use to use of other drugs, growing evidence shows that a combination of biological, social, and psychological factors are involved.

Marijuana affects the brain in some of the same ways that other drugs do. Researchers are examining the possibility that long-term marijuana use may create changes in the brain that make a person more at risk of becoming addicted to other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine. While not all young people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, further research is needed to determine who will be at greatest risk.


Q.) What does it mean to build a tolerance to marijuana?

A.) "Tolerance" means that the user needs increasingly larger doses of marijuana to get the same desired results that he or she previously got from smaller amounts. Some frequent, heavy users of marijuana may develop tolerance for it.


Q.) What is marijuana addiction?

A.) Marijuana addiction is a phenomenon experienced by more than 150,000 individuals each year who enter treatment for their proclaimed addiction to marijuana. Marijuana addiction is characterized as compulsive, often uncontrollable marijuana craving, seeking, and use, even when the individual knows that marijuana use is not in his best interest. Marijuana addiction could be defined as chronically making the firm decision not to use marijuana followed shortly by a relapse due to experiencing overwhelming compulsive urges to use marijuana despite the firm decision not to. This contradiction is characteristic of an addiction problem.

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction:

  1. Marijuana tolerance: Either need for markedly increased amounts of marijuana to achieve intoxication, or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of marijuana.
  2. Greater use of marijuana than intended: Marijuana taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
  3. Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control marijuana use
  4. A great deal of time spent in using marijuana
  5. Marijuana use causing a reduction in social, occupational or recreational activities.
  6. Continued marijuana use despite knowing it will cause significant problems.

Marijuana is both emotionally and mentally addictive. Once an individual becomes addicted to marijuana it develops into part of who they believe themselves to be. Avoiding their friends who do not use, the addict will gravitate to others that do. Marijuana is a topic that is always on their mind, whether it's thinking about the next time they will be able to get high or where they're going to get their next sack. When someone is addicted to marijuana, eventually their friends and the people close to them only know how they act when their stoned because they no longer do anything without smoking first. Their constant abuse is due to the misconception that marijuana is what they need to solve their problems. Sometimes addicts will take their stash with them wherever they go, just in case an opportunity arises and they are able to take a couple hits. They may even go through several dealers in order to make sure they always have a constant supply of marijuana.

If you feel that your marijuana use is out of your control and interfering with your personal goals and happiness and you would like to stop but can't, seek help from an addiction treatment professional.


Q.) What are the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal?

A.) Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal first appear in chronic users within 24 hours. They are most pronounced for the first 10 days and can last up to 28 days. Marijuana addiction withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • physical tension
  • decreases in appetite and mood

Q.) What are the dangers of using marijuana?

A.) Marijuana affects many skills required for safe driving: alertness, the ability to concentrate, coordination, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road.

There is data showing that marijuana can play a role in crashes. When users combine marijuana with alcohol, as they often do, the hazards of driving can be more severe than with either drug alone.

A study of patients in a shock-trauma unit who had been in traffic accidents revealed that 15 percent of those who had been driving a car or motorcycle had been smoking marijuana, and another 17 percent had both THC and alcohol in their blood.

In one study conducted in Memphis, TN, researchers found that, of 150 reckless drivers who were tested for drugs at the arrest scene, 33 percent tested positive for marijuana, and 12 percent tested positive for both marijuana and cocaine. Data also show that while smoking marijuana, people show the same lack of coordination on standard "drunk driver" tests as do people who have had too much to drink.


Q.) What are the short-term effects of marijuana?

A.)

  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
  • Increased heart rate
  • Potential cardiac dangers for those with pre-existing heart disease
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Decreased social inhibitions
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Impaired or reduced comprehension
  • Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
  • Psychological dependence
  • Impairments in learning and memory, perception, and judgment
  • difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
  • Intense anxiety or panic attacks

Q.) What are the long-term effects of marijuana?

A.)

  • Enhanced cancer risk
  • Decrease in testosterone levels and lower sperm counts for men
  • Increase in testosterone levels for women and increased risk of infertility
  • Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
  • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect

Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on men?

A.) Marijuana is the most common drug used by adolescents in America today. Marijuana affects the parts of the brain which controls the sex and growth hormones. In males, marijuana can decrease the testosterone level. Occasional cases of enlarged breasts in male marijuana users are triggered by the chemical impact on the hormone system. Regular marijuana use can also lead to a decrease in sperm count, as well as increases in abnormal and immature sperm. Marijuana is a contributing factor in the rising problem of infertility in males. Young males should know the effects and potential effects of marijuana use on sex and growing process before they decide to smoke marijuana.


Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on women?

A.) Just as in Males, marijuana affects the female in the part of the brain that controls the hormones, which determines the sequence in the menstrual cycle. It's been said that females who smoked or used marijuana on a regular basis had irregular menstrual cycles Also, he female hormones were depressed, and the testosterone level was raised. Even though this effect may be reversible, it may take several months of no marijuana use before the menstrual cycles become normal again.

Mothers who smoke marijuana on a regular basis have been reported of having babies with a weak central nervous system. These babies show abnormal reactions to light and sound, exhibit tremors and startles, and have the high-pitched cry associated with drug withdrawal. Occurring at five times the rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Marijuana Syndrome is a growing concern of many doctors. Furthermore, doctors worry that children born to "pot-head" mothers will have learning disabilities, attention deficits, and hormonal irregularities as they grow older, even if there are no apparent signs of damage at birth. Pregnant or nursing mothers who smoke marijuana should talk to their doctors immediately.


Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on the brain?

A.) Researchers have found that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus. This is a component of the brain's limbic system that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that neurons in the information processing system of the hippocampus and the activity of the nerve fibers are suppressed by THC. In addition, researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippocampus, also deteriorate. Recent research findings also indicate that long-term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse.


Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on the lungs?

A.) Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke.

Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to the marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.


Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on heart rate and blood pressure?

A.) Recent findings indicate that smoking marijuana while shooting up cocaine has the potential to cause severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure. In one study, experienced marijuana and cocaine users were given marijuana alone, cocaine alone, and then a combination of both. Each drug alone produced cardiovascular effects. When they were combined, the effects were greater and lasted longer. The heart rate of the subjects in the study increased 29 beats per minute with marijuana alone and 32 beats per minute with cocaine alone. When the drugs were given together, the heart rate increased by 49 beats per minute, and the increased rate persisted for a longer time. The drugs were given with the subjects sitting quietly. In normal circumstances, an individual may smoke marijuana and inject cocaine and then do something physically stressful that may significantly increase risks of overload on the cardiovascular system.


Q.) What are the effects of heavy marijuana use on learning and social behavior?

A.) A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 "heavy users," who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 "light users," who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. After a closely monitored 19- to 24-hour period of abstinence from marijuana and other illicit drugs and alcohol, the undergraduates were given several standard tests measuring aspects of attention, memory, and learning. Compared to the light users, heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information. The findings suggest that the greater impairment among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana.

Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends.


Q.) What are the effects of marijuana on pregnant women?

A.) Any drug of abuse can affect a mother's health during pregnancy, and this is a time when she should take special care of herself. Drugs of abuse may interfere with proper nutrition and rest, which can affect good functioning of the immune system. Some studies have found that babies born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy were smaller than those born to mothers who did not use the drug. In general, smaller babies are more likely to develop health problems.

A nursing mother who uses marijuana passes some of the THC to the baby in her breast milk. Research indicates that the use of marijuana by a mother during the first month of breast-feeding can impair the infant's motor development (control of muscle movement). Research also shows more anger and more regressive behavior (thumb sucking, temper tantrums) in toddlers whose parents use marijuana than among the toddlers of non-using parents.


Q.) What is the history of marijuana?

A.) The marijuana, cannabis, or hemp plant is one of the oldest psychoactive plants known to humanity. Cannabis has become one of the most widespread and diversified plants. It grows as weed and cultivated plant all over the world in a variety of climates and soils. Cannabis preparations have been used as remedies for thousands of years, and the active ingredients of the hemp plant can be put to use in a multitude of medical conditions.

A native of central Asia, cannabis may have been cultivated as long as ten thousand years ago. It was certainly cultivated in China by 4000 B.C. and in Turkestan by 3000 B.C. It has long been used as a medicine in India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America.