MARIJUANA/CANNABIS – Drugs of Abuse

Marijuana/Cannabis

WHAT IS MARIJUANA?
Marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug, produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains over 480 constituents.

THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is believed to be the main ingredient that produces the psychoactive effect.

WHAT IS ITS ORIGIN?
Marijuana is grown in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Caribbean, and Asia. It can be cultivated in both outdoor and indoor settings.

What are common street names?
Common street names include:
Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope,
Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint,
Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk,
Smoke, Weed, and Yerba

What does it look like?
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers,
stems, seeds, and leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant. The
mixture typically is green, brown, or gray in color and may
resemble tobacco.

How is it abused?
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint) or
in a pipe or bong. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars
that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana,
sometimes in combination with another drug. Marijuana is also
mixed with foods or brewed as a tea.

What is its effect on the mind?
When marijuana is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs and
into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the organs
throughout the body, including the brain. In the brain, the THC
connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve
cells and influences the activity of those cells.

Many of these receptors are found in the parts of the brain
that influence:
Pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and
time perception, and coordinated movement

The short-term effects of marijuana include:
Problems with memory and learning, distorted perception,
difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination

The effect of marijuana on perception and coordination are
responsible for serious impairments in learning, associative
processes, and psychomotor behavior (driving abilities).

Long term, regular use can lead to physical dependence and
withdrawal following discontinuation, as well as psychic
addiction or dependence.

Clinical studies show that the physiological, psychological,
and behavioral effects of marijuana vary among individuals
and present a list of common responses to cannabinoids, as
described in the scientific literature:
Dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, facial flushing, dry
mouth, and tremor initially

Merriment, happiness, and even exhilaration at
high doses

Disinhibition, relaxation, increased sociability, and
talkativeness

Enhanced sensory perception, giving rise to increased
appreciation of music, art, and touch

Heightened imagination leading to a subjective sense of
increased creativity

Time distortions

Illusions, delusions, and hallucinations are rare except
at high doses

Impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and ataxia, which
can impede driving ability or lead to an increase in risktaking
behavior

Emotional lability, incongruity of affect, dysphoria, disor –
ganized thinking, inability to converse logically, agitation,
paranoia, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, drowsiness, and
panic attacks may occur, especially in inexperienced users or in
those who have taken a large dose

Increased appetite and short-term memory impairment
are common

What is its effect on the body?
Short-term physical effects from marijuana use may include:
Sedation, bloodshot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing
from lung irritation, increased appetite, and decreased
blood pressure

Marijuana smokers experience serious health problems such
as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Extended
use may cause suppression of the immune system. Withdrawal
from chronic use of high doses of marijuana causes physical
signs including headache, shakiness, sweating, and stomach
pains and nausea.

Withdrawal symptoms also include behavioral signs such as:
Restlessness, irritability, sleep difficulties, and decreased
appetite

What are its overdose effects?
No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.

Which drugs cause similar effects?
Hashish and hashish oil are drugs made from the cannabis plant
that are like marijuana, only stronger.

Hashish (hash) 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.
Pieces are then broken off, placed in pipes or mixed with tobacco
and placed in pipes or cigarettes, and smoked.

The main sources of hashish are the Middle East, North Africa,
Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Hashish Oil (hash oil, liquid hash, cannabis oil) is produced by
extracting the cannabinoids from the plant material with a solvent.
The color and odor of the extract will vary, depending on the
solvent used. A drop or two of this liquid on a cigarette is equal
to a single marijuana joint. Like marijuana, hashish and hashish
oil are both Schedule I drugs.

What is its legal status in the United States?
Marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled
Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no
currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,
and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Although some states within the United States have allowed the
use of marijuana for medicinal purpose, it is the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration that has the federal authority to approve
drugs for medicinal use in the U.S. To date, the FDA has not approved
a marketing application for any marijuana product for any
clinical indication. Consistent therewith, the FDA and DEA have
concluded that marijuana has no federally approved medical
use for treatment in the U.S. and thus it remains as a Schedule I
controlled substance under federal law.

Marinol, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient
found in the marijuana plant, can be prescribed for the control
of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic agents
used in the treatment of cancer and to stimulate appetite in
AIDS patients. Marinol is a Schedule III substance under the
Controlled Substances Act.

SOURCE: A DEA Resource Guide 2017 Edition