What is marijuana?
- Marijuana, in all its forms, comes from the cannabis plant.
- Cannabis contains one major psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as many non-psychoactive compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) and at least 100 additional more minor cannabinoids.
- The dried buds of the female plant contain the highest concentration of psychoactive compounds in a naturally occurring product. These buds are usually what is sold and consumed as marijuana.
- Various “concentrates” of cannabis are manufactured, including hash (compressed dry resin glands), oil (a resinous mixture of cannabinoids obtained from the plant by solvent extraction) and kief (the uncompressed dry resin glands).
- There is clear evidence of cannabis use dating back over 5,000 years, and circumstantial evidence dating back over 10,000 years.
How is Marijuana used?
- Cannabis is usually smoked, although it can also be eaten.
- Joints are the most common method of smoking but a wide range of pipes, bongs, hookahs, and other devices are also used.
- Before being ingested, the THC in cannabis must be activated in a process called “decarboxylation.” When producing edible cannabis products, this is often done by cooking the cannabis with lipids such as butter or oil.
What are the effects of Marijuana?
- In small quantities, many users find cannabis both relaxing and stimulating. Cannabis tends to enhance senses.
- Cannabis use may increases appetite, depending on the strain. Some strains do not increase appetite.
- In larger quantities, with stronger strains, or when orally consumed, the effects of cannabis may feel similar to a psychedelic. Users may experience mild hallucinations, anxiety, or paranoia.
- Cannabis tends to cause an increase in heart rate, reddening of the eyes, and dryness in the mouth.
- Cannabis is used medicinally to treat the symptoms of a number of diseases, such as cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS.
- Cannabis is a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen.
What is the dosage of Marijuana?
- As with all plants that are directly consumed, dosage can vary significantly from one batch of flower to another (or even one part of the plant to another). In states where marijuana is legal, standardized and measured cannabis products are available, making it possible to dose accurately and intentionally.
- For smoked buds, dosing is often quantified in terms of taking varying sizes of hits from a smoking device. Even one hit of high potency cannabis can have a significant psychoactive effect for someone who doesn’t have a tolerance. For concentrates such as hash or oil, a dose can be much smaller. A normal dose of high quality oil is less than 1/10th of a gram.
- Oral doses of THC usually fall in the 2.5-5mg range for people who do not have a tolerance, and can go up to the hundreds of milligrams for those who do.
Is Cannabis addictive?
- While many people use cannabis regularly, cannabis does not create a physical dependence. Heavy regular users can sometimes experience irritability, depression, and anxiety for a period of time upon cessation.
- Cannabis can be rewarding and reinforcing. The frequency and context of its use are major determinants of whether a person will develop a problematic relationship with it, which can indeed happen.
- Cannabis is not a “gateway drug” as has been contended. This notion has been empirically researched and debunked. Cannabis does not cause individuals to use other drugs. Cannabis may in fact be an “exit drug,” resulting in lowered use of other, more dangerous drugs, particularly opiate painkillers.
- Smoking anything, including cannabis, can damage the lungs, throat, and mouth. “Dabbing” increases this risk because the oil is often heated to an extremely high temperature. Low temping dabs can help reduce the harshness of the vapor.
- When eaten, it can take over an hour (sometimes two) to fully feel the effects from cannabis. Users often consume more before during this time, which can lead to a much more (possibly unpleasantly) intense experience. Always wait at least two hours before eating more.
- Cannabis slows down reaction time and can impair driving.
- Some people feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or paranoid after using cannabis.