Marijuana is the mostly commonly used drug in the United States and can be considered the drug of choice for many young people. It is most commonly known as “weed,” but it goes by other names, including pot, dope, Mary Jane, blunts or joints. Marijuana is used both recreationally and for medical purposes.
While the medical benefits of marijuana remain unclear due to lack of scientific studies and federal regulations, it is used to treat patients for pain relief or to combat symptoms of chemotherapy. For people who smoke marijuana recreationally, it is often considered “no big deal,” or no worse than alcohol.
This viewpoint and the potential medical benefits that could come with it provide the reason for why the legal status of marijuana is changing so rapidly in the United States. Many states now allow recreational and medical use of the drug. However, it still remains an illegal drug in the eyes of the federal government. This is likely because can still put users at risk of addiction that would cause them to need treatment at a marijuana rehab.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is composed of the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. It contains a chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). People smoke marijuana via blunts, joints, vaporizers or in water pipes (bongs). They also eat in in food known as edibles, or drink it as tea. A new trend is for people to smoke THC-heavy resins, a practice called dabbing.
With marijuana not considered risky to use, marijuana abuse is common. It’s estimated that 30 percent of marijuana users may have a marijuana use disorder, such as marijuana addiction, which requires help from a rehab for weed addiction.
Marijuana is far more potent than ever before, with THC levels higher in plants than they used to be. Dabbing has high concentrations of THC, around 50 to 80 percent. Edibles take longer for the effects to start working, so people may ingest more to feel the high sooner, which can be dangerous.
Due to the THC levels in today’s marijuana, many experts express caution about the “no big deal” mentality around its use. The marijuana an older generation smoked was far less potent than today’s marijuana. The effects of using marijuana today are still being studied, but studies have found that marijuana use in teens can affect their development and even lead to an IQ drop of six to eight points.
Side Effects Of Marijuana Use
The onset of primary physical effects of marijuana can be almost instantaneous when smoked and last for several hours, depending on individual tolerance levels. These include:
- Red, puffy eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Reduced reaction time
Marijuana use also can affect a person’s judgement, perception and coordination, which can be especially dangerous if they are driving.