Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about Marijuana / Cannabis

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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A: Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa)Today it is the most often used illegal drug in this country.

Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other drugs made from the same plant. Stronger forms of cannabis include sinsemilla (sin-seh-me«-yah), hashish, and hash oil.

All forms of cannabis are mind-altering and they all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. There are about 400 chemicals in a cannabis plant, but THC is the one that affects the brain the most. The strength of the drug is measured by the average amount of THC.

  • Most ordinary marijuana has an average of 3 percent THC.
  • Sinsemilla (made from just the buds and flowering tops of female plants) has an average of 7.5 percent THC, with a range as high as 24 percent.
  • Hashish (the sticky resin from the female plant flowers) has an average of 3.6 percent, with a range as high as 28 percent.
  • Hash oil, a tar-like liquid distilled from hashish, has an average of 16 percent, with a range as high as 43 percent.

Common street names:
skunk, skunkweed, grass, pot, dope, hash, blow, puff, black, tack, bush, draw, ganja, leb, slate, rocky, marijuana, cannabis resin, cannabis oil, smoke, joint, reefer, spliff, wacky backy.


How are they taken:
Hash is the most common form in this country, it is resin scraped from the plant known as cannabis sativa then compressed into blocks. Herbal cannabis (marijuana) is another form, generally it is mixed with tobacco, rolled into cigarettes and smoked. it can also be smoked in a pipe (One well-known type of water pipe is the bong) it can also be brewed into a drink, or eaten with food. Recently, it has appeared in cigars called blunts which are larger and, therefore, more dangerous.

Include lack of co-ordination, red eyes, dilated pupils, increased heart rate and enjoyment of experiences, talkativeness, irrelevant giggling and can have a heightened appreciation of sound and colour. Can also cause a sudden increase in appetite. Strengths vary, some types are very mild, and some types can be very strong.

The risks:
The biggest danger comes from the actual smoking, like tobacco, cannabis has a high tar factor, so smoking it can cause bronchitis and lung cancer. There is now some evidence suggesting that cannabis may cause some own cancers in its own right. Anxiety and possible mental disturbance are possible, some forms are opium based dipped in opium oil which makes the cannabis very potent and even addictive. Illegal to have, sell or give away, it is a class b drug and the police and the courts will prosecute people in procession of it. Stiffer sentences or fines are given if found with large quantities for supplying purposes.

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Long-term effects of using marijuana:
enhanced cancer risk decrease in testosterone levels for men; also lower sperm counts and difficulty having children increase in testosterone levels for women; also increased risk of infertility diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
Short-term effects:
sleepiness difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car increased heart rate
potential cardiac dangers for those with pre-existing heart disease bloodshot eyes dry mouth and throat decreased social inhibitions
paranoia, hallucinations
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Marijuana blocks the messages going to your brain and alters your perceptions and emotions, vision, hearing, and coordination. A recent study of 1,023 trauma patients admitted to a shock trauma unit found that one-third had marijuana in their blood.
Parents should be aware of changes in their child's behavior, although this may be difficult with teenagers. Parents should look for withdrawal, depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility, and deteriorating relationships with family members and friends.

For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.