Posted by Bellefaire JCB on January 29, 2016

Facts about Marijuana

  • Counseling and Community Services Counseling and Community Services
  • Prevention & Early Intervention Prevention & Early Intervention

Weed. Dope. Grass. Pot. No matter what you call it, marijuana is a drug that can be addictive and dangerous. Learn what marijuana is, the effects and other facts in the resource guide below.

What Marijuana Is

Marijuana is a mind-altering substance. All forms of marijuana contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. It also contains over 400 other chemicals.

How Marijuana Is Used

THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces of THC can be detected by a standard urine test several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy chronic users, traces may be detected for several weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

The Effects of Marijuana

  • Problems with memory and learning;
  • Distorted perceptions (sights, sounds, time, touch);
  • Difficulty with thinking and problem solving;
  • Loss of motor coordination;
  • Increased heart rate, anxiety;
  • Poor judgment and decision-making. Users can forget to have safe sex and possibly expose themselves to sexually transmitted diseases.

Findings have found the long-term use of marijuana may play a role in some types of cancer and problems with respiratory, immune and reproductive systems.

Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Cancer?

Marijuana contains at least the same amount of carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

The Physical Effects of Smoking Marijuana

Marijuana smokers often develop chest problems including coughing and wheezing. They also tend to have more chest colds than non-users. Furthermore, they are at an increased risk for lung infections, like pneumonia. Animal studies have found that THC can damage the cells and tissues in the body, which help protect people from disease.

Are People Who Smoke Marijuana More Likely to Use Other Drugs?

Marijuana users are at an increased risk of using other drugs, since they are exposed to and urged to try more drugs. While not all young people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, further research is needed to predict who will be at the greatest risk.

How To Tell If Someone Has Been Smoking Marijuana

He or she might seem dizzy and have difficulty walking, seem silly and giggly for no reason, have bloodshot or red eyes, and have a difficult time remembering things that just happened.

How does marijuana effect driving?

Marijuana has serious harmful effects on the ability to drive safely including: alertness, the ability to concentrate, coordination, and the ability to react quickly.

Is smoking marijuana addictive?

Marijuana can be addicting. In 2002, 15 percent of people entering drug abuse treatment programs reported that marijuana was their primary drug of abuse, showing they need help to stop using the drug. 

For more information on marijuana and other drugs visit:

Learn about Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) Prevention and Early Intervention program