A mind-altering or psychoactive substance, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States and is often considered the drug of choice for many young people. Some of the commonly used names for marijuana are pot, smoke, weed, dope, Mary Jane, boom and ganja. Used for both recreational and medical purposes, marijuana can be smoked through blunts, joints, vaporizers, or in water pipes (bongs), mixed with food items or brewed as tea.
Though the medical benefits of marijuana remain unclear due to lack of scientific studies and federal regulations, patients use it for pain relief or to combat symptoms of chemotherapy. For people who smoke the drug recreationally, it is often considered “no big deal” or no worse than alcohol.
Marijuana abuse is increasingly becoming common because of the perception that marijuana is not considered risky to use. In 2016, an estimated 24 million Americans (aged 12 or above) were current users of marijuana. Characterized by the continued use of the substance despite facing clinically significant impairments due to its persistent use, marijuana use disorder can lead to problems pertaining to memory, learning, mood, and social behavior. In 2016, approximately 4 million people (aged 12 years or above) in the U.S. had a marijuana use disorder in the past year.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is obtained from the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds of hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It contains more than 60 cannabinoids, including delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its main psychoactive constituent.
It is far more potent than ever before, with the THC levels higher in plants today than they used to be. Dabbing has high concentrations of THC, around 50 to 80 percent. Edibles take longer for the effects to show, so people ingest more to feel the “high” soon, which can be dangerous.
While 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have allowed cannabis use in some form or the other, it remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This is likely because it can still put users at the risk of addiction that would require them to seek treatment at a marijuana rehab.