What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a common drug in the US;. However, it has recently been legalized for medical use in some areas, marijuana is still an illegal drug in most of the United States. It is also one of the country's most commonly used recreational drugs. To give you a more in-depth understanding of marijuana, in this overview, we will briefly cover the historical background, details (such as uses, etc.), street names, and potential side effects of marijuana use.

Background of the Substance

According to historical documents and other evidence, marijuana has been used for over 2000 years, with the earliest use in China and India. It is believed that the first recorded references to marijuana or cannabis use were in the writings of Shen Nung, the Chinese emperor, in 2737 BCE.

Details – What Is Marijuana?

But what exactly is Marijuana? First, it is DEA Schedule I drug under the category of cannabinoids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.” When smoked or eaten, marijuana provides a high due to its THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) content.

Schedule I drugs include substances or chemicals “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Other examples of DEA Schedule I drugs, besides marijuana, include but are not limited to peyote, heroin, LSD, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as ecstasy).

Though there has been a large movement to prove that cannabinoids have valid medical uses, recent moves to get marijuana removed from the DEA’s list of Schedule I drugs have been unsuccessful.

Street Names for Marijuana

Of course, not everyone who uses or sells marijuana will refer to it by its proper name. Some of the most common street names for marijuana include, but are not limited to:

  • Dope
  • Ganja
  • Weed
  • Herb
  • Mary Jane
  • Pot
  • Green
  • Trees
  • Green trees
  • Skunk
  • Bud
  • Reefer

Because marijuana is often smoked, you may also hear other terms about it, such as:

  • Joint – A marijuana cigarette
  • Blunt – A cigar or cigarillo rolled with a combination of marijuana and tobacco
  • Bong – A water pipe used for smoking marijuana
  • Pipe – A pipe (usually glass) made for smoking marijuana

Side Effects of Using Marijuana

Smoking marijuana is the fastest and most effective means to get THC into the bloodstream. Your blood will then carry the THC to your brain and other organs. Because your brain naturally produces chemicals like THC, it has receptors that will react to the presence of THC in your bloodstream, causing you to feel high.

Some short-term side effects of smoking marijuana include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in sense perception
  • Impaired memory and/or problem-solving skills
  • Increased hunger

Long-term side effects of using marijuana can include prolonged memory impairment and/or decreased intellectual capacity, especially if the user begins smoking in their teens before their brain has fully developed. Other long-term side effects include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Decreased life satisfaction
  • Poorer mental and/or physical health

What Does the High from Marijuana Feel Like?

Most users report a feeling of euphoria when smoking or eating marijuana. Some will have hallucinations, while others will have somewhat altered senses for a period lasting between a few minutes and a few hours. Users generally have slower reaction times to stimuli and feel more relaxed and at peace when high.

While many people believe that the recreational use of marijuana is harmless, you can see from this overview that it has several side effects. It is still a Schedule I substance and is illegal in most of the US.

  • Answered by:
  • Published: 09/26/2016
  • Updated: 03/14/2023
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We are an education company, not a law firm. The information and content we provide is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of the content. It is important to always consult with a qualified attorney for specific legal counsel pertaining to your individual circumstances.

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