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Marijuana - Health Effects for All

Health Effects for All

Marijuana, hashish (hash) and hash oil all come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, a type of Hemp plant. All three contain tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a chemical that changes the way you think, feel and act.

The Marijuana grown today is much stronger than in the past. Today, the level of THC found in marijuana is between 6%-30%. In the past levels the levels of THC found in marijuana were close to 0.5%-3%.

Marijuana is made from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant. Before the Cannabis Sativa flowers mature, they become coated with a sticky resin. This resin can be dried to make hash. Marijuana can be smoked, or eaten in baked goods.

Cannabis bud

Common street names for marijuana are:

  • Cannabis
  • Weed
  • Mary Jane
  • MJ
  • Grade
  • Bud 

Common street names for smoking marijuana are:

  • Blazing
  • Bonging
  • Puffing
  • Toking

Common signs of marijuana use include:

  • Appearing relaxed
  • Acting silly for no reason
  • Increasing irritability or grumpiness
  • Wanting to eat a lot
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Having red eyes
  • Having a lack of interest in normal activities
  • Having trouble with short term memory
  • An increased heart rate
  • Having trouble with balance
  • Smell on clothes

Marijuana and physical health

doctor with lung x-ray

Marijuana smoke contains many of the same poisons and cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke, which can cause damage to the lungs.

Health effects may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Bronchitis
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Increased incidents of lung infections
  • Worsening asthma
  • An Increased risk of cancer including lung, head and neck

Marijuana and the impact on the brain

Long-term heavy marijuana use can make it hard for an individual to pay attention, learn and remember things, which can have a negative effect on an individual’s ability to perform.

Although changes in memory, concentration and learning ability can disappear after several weeks of not using marijuana, this does not always hold true for youth. Youth who begin using marijuana in their early teenage years are at a higher risk for lasting changes because their brains are still developing.

Marijuana and mental health:

brain concept with lightning bolts
  • Marijuana can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability and cause people to see or hear things that are not there
  • People who use marijuana may be at a higher risk of developing long term psychosis and/or schizophrenia
  • The risk for psychosis and/or schizophrenia may be increased for those who use marijuana more often and those who begin using marijuana in the early teenage years
  • Having a family member who has one of these mental health conditions may also increase the user’s risk
  • Using marijuana may make an already existing mental health condition worse

Marijuana and injury:

Marijuana use does affect a person’s ability to react quickly and pay attention. Drivers that have used marijuana before driving are at a higher risk of getting in an accident. The risk of an accident increases even more if marijuana and alcohol are taken together.

Marijuana and addiction:

Heavy long-term use of marijuana can cause addiction. Addicted users may crave marijuana, rely on it to do their daily tasks, and find it hard to stop using the drug.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • trouble with sleeping
  • nausea
  • irritability
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • loss of appetite