Marijuana comes from the dried leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems of the cannabis plant. Commonly called pot, calgary weed delivery, Mary Jane, reefer, grass, bud, ganja, and skunk, marijuana is usually greenish or slightly gray in color. The plant material is regularly smoked in joints, blunts, or through a water pipe (bong), or it is infused into food or drinks called edibles. In 2014, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that over 22 million Americans (aged 12 and older) were classified as currently abusing marijuana.
There are over 500 chemicals in marijuana and more than 100 cannabinoids (chemicals similar to THC), NIDA reports. Connoisseurs and cultivators of marijuana are breeding plants to come up with new strains of the drug that are reported to have variable effects and tastes along with ranges of potency and levels of THC. Other drugs may also be added to marijuana plant material (cocaine and heroin can be laced into marijuana joints, for example), increasing the possible side effects and risk factors.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). When someone smokes marijuana, THC goes from the lungs into the bloodstream. From there, it ends up in the brain and other organs.
THC connects with a receptor on nerve cells in the brain. The marijuana “high” results from THC’s effects on the nerve cells that control sensory perception and pleasure.
THC also connects with receptors on nerve cells in other parts of the brain that affect thinking, memory, coordination, and concentration. This can cause unwanted side effects, including:
- trouble thinking and problem solving
- problems with memory and learning
- loss of coordination
- distorted perception
These side effects are temporary, but they can make it dangerous to do things like drive while under the influence of marijuana.