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Short and Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use

What is Marijuana?
Marijuana—often called pot, grass, reefer, weed, herb, mary jane, or mj—is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant. Most users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, among other names; some use pipes or water pipes called bongs. Marijuana cigars called blunts have also become popular. To make blunts, users slice open cigars and replace the tobacco with marijuana, often combined with another drug,  such as crack cocaine. Marijuana also is used to brew tea and is sometimes mixed into foods. The major active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the mind-altering effects of marijuana intoxication. The amount  of THC (which is also the psychoactive ingredient in hashish) determines the potency and, therefore, the effects of marijuana. Between 1980 and 1997, the amount of THC in marijuana available in the United States rose dramatically.

Short-term Effects of Marijuana Use

  • Sensory distortion
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Poor coordination of movement
  • Lowered reaction time
  • After an initial “up,” the user feels sleepy or depressed
  • Increased heartbeat (and risk of heart attack)

Long-term Effects of Marijuana Use

  • Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.)
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Growth disorders
  • Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
  • Reduction of male sex hormones
  • Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent
  • Reduced sexual capacity
  • Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information
  • Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Inability to understand things clearly

If you or a loved one needs help, contact Jeff at (941) 586-0929

This information is from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website.