- The active ingredient in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinal). The behaviors exhibited by introducing THC to brain chemistry are similar those demonstrated by alcohol use.
- Marijuana is classified as a "psychotropic" or "psychoactive" drug and is highly addictive for some individuals; frequent users may find that they need more of the drug to get the same "high" - as a result some marijuana users "graduate" to harder drugs, giving marijuana the label of "precursory drug".
- Smoking marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain, is very damaging to your long and short term memory systems and some studies indicate it is more damaging to your lungs than smoking cigarettes.
- The reactive properties of marijuana are unlike other addictive drugs; as a result, very little is known for sure about the physical mechanisms of addiction and withdrawl in cannibus users. Some people claim marijuana is totally non-addicting, while others say it is just as addicting as other substances with only the causes of addiction being different. No one side has conclusively proven it's perspective. Since the reasons for marijuana addiction are unclear it is impossible to assess whether or not you may become "hooked" until it has already happened.
- Marijuana induces a broad range of "emotional" responses; from relaxation to introspection, irrationality to paranoia.
- Users feel more "in tune" with the world claiming to see brighter colors, hear new sounds and have an increased level of creativity - in fact, to sober people, "high" people sound ridiculous.
- Marijuana has a strong and distinct odor that is not easy to wash off and that can remain on the breath despite repeated brushing.
- You can get high from second hand marijuana smoke.
- Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.
- Smoking marijuana while pregnant can have similar effects on a baby as drinking alcohol. These effects are irreversible, and for many children they will last a life time. NAS or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can be caused by ANY type of illicit drug use during pregnancy; this includes marijuana use.
By Mike Hardcastle
Teen Advice Expert