What is Marijuanna?

What is marijuana?1

Are there different kinds

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other drugs made from the same plant.

Strong forms of cannabis include sinsemilla, hashish (“hash” for short), and hash oil. There are many different slang terms for marijuana and, as with other drugs, they change quickly and vary from region to region.

But no matter its form or label, all cannabis products contain the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They also contain more than 400 other chemicals.

How do people use marijuana?

People who use marijuana may roll loose marijuana leaves into a cigarette (called a joint) or smoke it in a pipe or a water pipe, often referred to as a bong. Some people mix marijuana into foods (often called “edibles”) or use it to brew tea. Another method is to slice open a cigar and replace some or all of the tobacco with marijuana, creating what is known as a blunt. To avoid inhaling smoke, more people are vaping – using vaporizers that allow the person to inhale vapor and not smoke. Another popular method on the rise is smoking or vaping THC-rich resins extracted from the marijuana plant, a practice called dabbing. Some popular e-cigarette devices can be used to vape marijuana or extracts.

How many teens use marijuana?

Nigeria currently faces similar challenges as its citizens indulge in drugs and substances despite a 1990 National Drug Policy adopted to guard against inadequacies in drug availability, supply and distribution. In Nigeria, a population of 30 to 35 million spends approximately USD $15,000 and USD $30,000 annually on psychotropic drugs and alcoholic beverages, respectively. The abuse of drugs and other substances and associated crime have driven the considerable rise in the number of youths imprisoned in recent years. A report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria indicates that 14.4% (14.3 million) of people aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs. The statistical analysis of the findings of a 2015 nationwide survey of 10,609 respondents showed that alcohol is the drug with the highest prevalence rate, whereas cannabis is the most abused illicit drug. Drug abuse in Nigeria is prevalent across educational levels and reaches down to the secondary school level.2

Researchers have found that the use of marijuana and other drugs usually peaks in the late teens and early twenties, then declines in later years. Therefore, marijuana use among young people remains a natural concern for parents and is the focus of continuing research, particularly regarding its impact on brain development, which continues into a person’s early twenties. Some studies suggest that the effects of heavy use that begins as a teen can be long lasting, even many years after use discontinues.

How does marijuana work?

When people smoke marijuana, they feel its effects almost immediately. THC (marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient) rapidly reaches every organ in the body, including the brain, and attaches to specific receptors on nerve cells.

Activation of these receptors in the brain affects pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, appetite, pain, and sensory and time perception. THC is chemically similar to chemicals that the body produces naturally, called endocannabinoids, and marijuana disrupts the normal function of these chemicals. Because of this system’s wide-ranging influence over many critical functions, it’s not surprising that marijuana can have multiple effects -not just on the brain, but on a person’s general health. Some of these effects last only as long as marijuana is in the body while others may build up over time to cause longer-lasting problems, including addiction.

The effects of smoked marijuana can last from 1 to 3 hours.

If consumed in foods, the effects come on slower and may not last as long. However, because edibles containing marijuana are often unlabeled or poorly labeled, teens can use too much waiting for the “high” and end up in the emergency room with side effects.

What are marijuana’s short-term effects?

The short-term effects of marijuana can include:

Euphoria (high). THC activates the reward system in a similar way to other drugs of abuse, resulting in the release of the chemical dopamine.

Memory impairment. THC alters how information is processed in the hippocampus and frontal cortex, brain areas involved in memory and concentration.

Negative mental reactions in some. These include anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic, particularly in people new to the drug or those taking it in a strange setting; some may even experience psychosis.

Physical changes. People who use marijuana may have red or bloodshot eyes, increased appetite (the munchies”), increased heart rate, and sleep issues.

What determines how marijuana affects a person?

Like any other drug, marijuana’s effects on a person depends on a number of factors, including the person’s previous experience with the drug or other drugs, biology (e.g., genes), gender, how the drug is taken, and the drug’s potency (its strength).

  1. Marijuana: facts parents need to know (revised), National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute of a health. ↩︎
  2. An assessment of drug and substance abuse prevalence: a cross-sectional study among undergraduates in selected southwestern universities in Nigeria, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9608018/# ↩︎