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Marijuana FAQ's

What is marijuana?


Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering (e.g., psychoactive) compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering.




How is marijuana used?


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  1. There are many ways of using marijuana, and each one affects users differently. Marijuana can be rolled up and smoked like a cigarette (a joint) or a cigar (a blunt). Marijuana can also be smoked in a pipe. 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.”Enter App Settings
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What determines how marijuana effects a person?


Like any other drug, marijuana’s effects on a person depends on a number of factors, including the person’s previous experience with the drug or other drugs, biology (e.g., genes), gender, how the drug is taken, and how strong it is.




Is marijuana medicine?


The marijuana plant has chemicals that may help symptoms for some health problems. More and more states are making it legal to use the plant as medicine for certain conditions. But there isn’t enough research to show that the whole plant works to treat or cure these conditions. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)External has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine. 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. Two medicines have been made as pills from a chemical that’s like THC, one of the chemicals found in the marijuana plant that makes people feel “high.” These two medicines can treat nausea if you have cancer and make you hungry if you have AIDS and don’t feel like eating. But the chemical used to make these medicines affects the brain also, so it can do things to your body other than just working as medicine. Another marijuana chemical that scientists are studying, called cannabidiol (CBD), doesn’t make you high because it acts on different parts of the nervous system than THC Scientists think this chemical might help children who have a lot of seizures (when your body starts twitching and jerking uncontrollably) that can’t be controlled with other medicines. Some studies have started to see whether it can help.




Is it possible for someone to become addicted to marijuana?


Yes, about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using younger than 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.1-3 For more information visit CDC’s section on addiction or the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s pages on addiction science.External




How do I know if I am addicted to marijuana?


Some of the signs that someone might be addicted to marijuana include: Trying but failing to quit using marijuana. Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana. Using marijuana even when it is known that it causes problems at home, school, or work. 4 Compared to marijuana users who are not addicted, people who are addicted to marijuana are at a higher risk of the negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning. For more information visit CDC’s section on addiction or the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s pages on addiction science.External




What are the health risks of using marijuana?


For more on the health risks and effects of marijuana visit CDC’s web page on marijuana and health effects.




Is it possible to “overdose” or have a “bad reaction” to marijuana?


A fatal overdose is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless. The signs of using too much marijuana are similar to the typical effects of using marijuana but more severe. These signs may include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting. In some cases, these reactions can lead to unintentional injury such as a motor vehicle crash, fall, or poisoning.




What are the effects of mixing marijuana with alcohol, tobacco or prescription drugs?


Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time is likely to result in greater impairment than when using either one alone. Using marijuana and tobacco at the same time may also lead to increased exposure to harmful chemicals, causing greater risks to the lungs, and the cardiovascular system. Also, be aware that marijuana may change how prescription drugs work. Always talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking and possible side effects when mixed with other things like marijuana.




How harmful is K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids)?


Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., synthetic marijuana, K2, Spice, Spike)—or plants sprayed with unknown chemicals—are dangerous and unpredictable. Synthetic cannabinoids are not marijuana, but like THC, they bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs. Research shows that synthetic cannabinoids affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana creating unpredictable and, in some cases, life-threatening effects including nausea, anxiety, paranoia, brain swelling, seizures, hallucinations, aggression, heart palpitations, and chest pains. For additional questions around synthetic cannabinoids, visit CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health page on synthetic marijuana or the National Institute on Drug AbuseExternal page on synthetic marijuana.




Does marijuana use lead to other drug use?


The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.5 More research is needed to understand if marijuana is a “gateway drug” – a drug that is thought to lead to the use of more dangerous drugs (such as cocaine or heroin). For more on why visit risk of using other drugs.




Is it safe for a breastfeeding mom to use marijuana?


We do not yet know. Chemicals from marijuana can be passed to your baby through breast milk. THC is stored in fat and is slowly released over time, meaning that your baby could still be exposed even after you stop using marijuana. However, data on the effects of marijuana exposure to the infant or baby through breastfeeding are limited and conflicting. To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should reduce or avoid marijuana use.




Can secondhand marijuana smoke affect nonsmokers, including children?


Secondhand marijuana smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, and many of the same toxic chemicals in smoked tobacco.6-8 Smoked marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing substances as smoked tobacco, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions around secondhand marijuana smoke exposure and its impact on chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases.




How is eating and drinking foods that contain marijuana (edibles) different from smoking marijuana?


Because marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there are health risks associated with using marijuana regardless of the how it is used. Some of these negative effects include having difficulty thinking and problem-solving, having problems with memory, learning and maintaining attention and demonstrating impaired coordination. Additionally, frequent use can lead to becoming addicted to marijuana. However, some risks may differ by the way it is used. Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. Whereas, edibles, which take longer to digest, take longer to produce an effect. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster. This may lead to people consuming very high doses and result in negative effects like anxiety, paranoia and, in rare cases, an extreme psychotic reaction (e.g. delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation).




It’s legal in many states, so doesn’t that mean marijuana is safe?


The fact that it’s legal does not mean that it is safe. Using marijuana at an early age can lead to negative health consequences. Heavy marijuana use (daily or near-daily) can do damage to memory, learning, and attention, which can last a week or more after the last time someone used. Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm the baby, just like alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana use has been linked to anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, but scientists don’t yet know whether it directly causes these diseases. Smoking any product, including marijuana, can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system.




What is hashish?


Hashish is a cannabinoid, like marijuana. It consists of the THC-rich resinous material of the cannabis plant, which is collected, dried, and then compressed into a variety of forms, such as balls, cakes, or cookie-like sheets




What is hash oil?


Hash oil (also known as BHO, nectar, wax, full melt, honey, "dabs", or "budder"') is a form of cannabis. It is a resinous matrix of cannabinoids obtained from the Cannabis plant by solvent extraction, formed into a hardened or viscous mass




What is BHO?


BHO is also known as Butane Honey or Hashish Oil and is a potent form of hash oil. It is manufactured by extracting the active ingredient, THC, through the use of butane and is extremely dangerous. Explosions can easily occur when butane is near a flammable source.




What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?


Hemp and marijuana both come from the same species of plant—cannabis. However, hemp is generally harvested from a subspecies of the Cannabis genus, which, unlike marijuana, has virtually no psychoactive properties. Hemp varieties are grown for their seed, oil, and fiber, whereas marijuana is grown for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes.




What are some other names for cannabis?


Cannabis is also known as marijuana, grass, pot, dope, Mary Jane, hooch, weed, hash, joints, brew, reefers, cones, smoke, mull, buddha, ganga, hydro, yarndi, heads and green.




How strong is marijuana?


The main ingredient in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive, or mood altering, effects is a cannabinoid called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or "THC" for short. In combination with other cannabinoids, the amount of THC in marijuana determines the strength of the effect of the drug. The level of THC in marijuana is not always the same. It can vary depending on the strain or variety of the plant, the way in which the plant is grown, the part of the plant that is used, and the way the plant is prepared for use and stored.




Has the potency of marijuana increased over the past several years?


Yes, the cannabis today is stronger than before. The potency has increased 2 to 7 times since the 1970s, as measured by THC levels.




What is a cannabinoid?


There are 480 natural components within the cannabis sativa plant, of which 66 are classified as “cannabinoids.” The effects of marijuana are moderated likely by cannabinoids. There are several subclasses of cannabinoids:  Cannabigerols (CBG)  Cannabichromenes (CBC)  Cannabidiols (CBD)  Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)  Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL)  Misc




What do the cannabinoids do?


Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the brain and peripheral nervous system where they affect memory, cognition and psychomotor performance. See above for what symptoms cannabinoids cause.




What is the main difference between the cannabinoids?


o The main difference between the cannabinoids is the degree to which they cause psychoactive effects i.e. produce a high. Three classes of cannabinoids, the CBG, CBC, and CGD, are not known to cause a high or other psychoactive effects. THC, CBN, and CBDL are psychologically active to various degrees. o CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids at up to 40% of cannabis resin, and it can have anti-anxiety effects and lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. The more CBD a formulation contains, the less psychoactive it is likely to be.




What are marijuana edibles?


Marijuana edibles are food items made with marijuana or marijuana oils, which can be used as an alternative to smoking or vaporizing marijuana.




Are there different types of marijuana edibles?


Medibles come in many different liquid forms and food types, including:  Brownies  Cookies  Drinks  Popcorn  Candies, including animal or fruit-shaped gummies, suckers and chocolates




How should edibles be stored?


Medibles and their packages are often brightly colored and grab the attention of kids. They may look like candy, drinks or other types of foods to young children. It is extremely important to keep these products locked up and out of reach of children and pets.




Will ingesting marijuana affect someone differently than smoking it?


Yes. Unlike smoking marijuana, where the effects can be felt almost immediately, effects from medibles can:  Take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect  Last longer than expected depending on the dose, last meal, and/or medications or alcohol used at the same time.




Why do some medible products seem stronger than others?


The amount of THC can vary in marijuana edibles. This makes it harder to control how much THC is consumed. The amount of THC in homemade marijuana edibles can vary even more. Many users can be caught off-guard by the stronger potency and long-lasting effects of medibles.




What is the recommended dosage for edibles?


Washington’s definition of one edible dose is 10 mg. o Some edibles have more than one dose of THC and may come with directions to only consume part of the product. o Eating too much of an edible may produce unwanted health effects. o The effects of marijuana use of any kind can vary from person to person, and each person may have a different tolerance level. o Always read the dosing recommendations and know exactly how much THC is in the edible.





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