Marijuana Impact

Continuing education online courses in Marijuana Impact.

D16. Marijuana Impact, 3 CE-hours, $21

Course Description: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Learn how and why it’s used, it’s effects and risks.

Objectives: At the end of this course, you will 1. understand the nature of marijuana use, 2. counteract the myth of medical marijuana, 3. appreciate the scope of its use, and 4. trace its acute affect on the body system.

Course Format: Online linked resources and lectures that you can use anytime 24/7. One multi-choice test.

Course Developers and Instructors: R. Klimes, PhD, MPH (John Hopkins U), author of articles on drug and alcohol issues, rehabilitation, and wellness.

Course Time: About three hours for online study, test taking with course evaluation feedback and certificate printing.



Professor Rudolf Klimes, PhD, welcomes you to this online course.

START the course here. TAKE the exam at the end. PAY after the exam.

Course Test: Click here for the self-correcting test that requires 75% for a passing grade.

D16  Marijuana Impact, 3 CE hours


1. Marijuana Basics

The following article is from “InfoFacts: Marijuana” from the National Institute of Drug Abuse:

Marijuana, the Drug

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, it usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug. Use also might include mixing marijuana in food or brewing it as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish and, as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor. There are countless street terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, ganja, and hash, as well as terms derived from trademarked varieties of cannabis, such as Bubble Gum®, Northern Lights®, Juicy Fruit®, Afghani #1®, and a number of Skunk varieties.The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.

Extent of Use

There were an estimated 2.6 million new marijuana users in 2001. This number is similar to the numbers of new users each year since 1995, but above the number in 1990 (1.6 million). In 2002, over 14 million Americans age 12 and older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, and 12.2 percent of past year marijuana users used marijuana on 300 or more days in the past 12 months. This translates into 3.1 million people using marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis over a 12-month period(1).

The percentage of youth age 12 to 17 who had ever used marijuana declined slightly from 2001 to 2002 (21.9 to 20.6 percent). Among adults age 18 to 25, the rate increased slightly from 53.0 percent to 53.8 percent in 2002. The percentage of young adults age 18 to 25 who had ever used marijuana was 5.1 percent in 1965, but increased steadily to 54.4 percent in 1982. Although the rate for young adults declined somewhat from 1982 to 1993, it did not drop below 43 percent and actually increased to 53.8 percent by 2002(1). Forty-two percent of youth age 12 or 13 and 24.1 percent age 16 or 17 perceived smoking marijuana once a month as a great risk. Slightly more than half of youth age 12 to 17 indicated that it would be fairly or very easy to obtain marijuana, but only 26.0 percent of 12- or 13-year-olds indicated the same thing. However, 79.0 percent of those age 16 or 17 indicated that it would be fairly or very easy to obtain marijuana(1).

Prevalence of lifetime, past year, and past month marijuana use declined among students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades in 2003. However, the declines in 12-month prevalence reached statistical significance only in 8th-graders; past year use has declined by nearly one-third since 1996(2). All three grades showed an increase in perceived risk for regular marijuana use. This finding represents a welcome turnaround in this perception, which has been in decline in all grades over the past 1 or 2 years(3).In 2002, marijuana was the third most commonly abused drug mentioned in drug-related hospital emergency department (ED) visits in the continental United States. Marijuana mentions rose significantly (24%) from 2000 to 2002, but showed no significant increase since 2001. Taking changes in population into account, marijuana mentions increased 139 percent from 1995 to 2002(4).

Effects on the Brain

Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to organs throughout the body, including the brain.

In the brain, THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement(5).

The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate. Research findings for long-term marijuana use indicate some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse. For example, cannabinoid (THC or synthetic forms of THC) withdrawal in chronically exposed animals leads to an increase in the activation of the stress-response system(6) and changes in the activity of nerve cells containing dopamine(7). Dopamine neurons are involved in the regulation of motivation and reward, and are directly or indirectly affected by all drugs of abuse.

Effects on the Heart

One study has indicated that a user’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana(8). The researchers suggest that such an effect might occur from marijuana’s effects on blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

Effects on the Lungs

A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers(9). Many of the extra sick days among the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.

Even infrequent use can cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, often accompanied by a heavy cough. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency to obstructed airways(10). Smoking marijuana increases the likelihood of developing cancer of the head or neck, and the more marijuana smoked the greater the increase(11). A study comparing 173 cancer patients and 176 healthy individuals produced strong evidence that marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of these cancers.

Marijuana use also has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens(12, 13). In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke(14). It also produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their carcinogenic form—levels that may accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells(15). Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. These facts suggest that, puff for puff, smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco.

Other Health Effects

Some of marijuana’s adverse health effects may occur because THC impairs the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases and cancer. In laboratory experiments that exposed animal and human cells to THC or other marijuana ingredients, the normal disease-preventing reactions of many of the key types of immune cells were inhibited(16). In other studies, mice exposed to THC or related substances were more likely than unexposed mice to develop bacterial infections and tumors(17, 18).

Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use on Learning and Social Behavior

Depression(19), anxiety(20), and personality disturbances(21) have been associated with marijuana use. Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. Because marijuana compromises the ability to learn and remember information, the more a person uses marijuana the more he or she is likely to fall behind in accumulating intellectual, job, or social skills. Moreover, research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off(22, 23).

Students who smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their non-smoking peers(24, 25, 26, 27). A study of 129 college students found that, for heavy users of marijuana (those who smoked the drug at least 27 of the preceding 30 days), critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning were significantly impaired even after they had not used the drug for at least 24 hours(28). The heavy marijuana users in the study had more trouble sustaining and shifting their attention and in registering, organizing, and using information than did the study participants who had used marijuana no more than 3 of the previous 30 days. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level all of the time.

More recently, the same researchers showed that the ability of a group of long-term heavy marijuana users to recall words from a list remained impaired for a week after quitting, but returned to normal within 4 weeks(29). Thus, it is possible that some cognitive abilities may be restored in individuals who quit smoking marijuana, even after long-term heavy use.

Workers who smoke marijuana are more likely than their coworkers to have problems on the job. Several studies associate workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover. A study of municipal workers found that those who used marijuana on or off the job reported more “withdrawal behaviors”—such as leaving work without permission, daydreaming, spending work time on personal matters, and shirking tasks—that adversely affect productivity and morale(30). In another study, marijuana users reported that use of the drug impaired several important measures of life achievement including cognitive abilities, career status, social life, and physical and mental health(31).

.Addictive Potential

Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they use the drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop using the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety(38). They also display increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking approximately one week after the last use of the drug(39).

Genetic Vulnerability

Scientists have found that whether an individual has positive or negative sensations after smoking marijuana can be influenced by heredity. A 1997 study demonstrated that identical male twins were more likely than non-identical male twins to report similar responses to marijuana use, indicating a genetic basis for their response to the drug(40). (Identical twins share all of their genes.)

It also was discovered that the twins’ shared or family environment before age 18 had no detectable influence on their response to marijuana. Certain environmental factors, however, such as the availability of marijuana, expectations about how the drug would affect them, the influence of friends and social contacts, and other factors that differentiate experiences of identical twins were found to have an important effect.

Treating Marijuana Problems

The latest treatment data indicate that, in 2000, marijuana was the primary drug of abuse in about 15 percent (236,638) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States. Marijuana admissions were primarily male (76 percent), White (57 percent), and young (46 percent under 20 years old). Those in treatment for primary marijuana use had begun use at an early age; 56 percent had used it by age 14 and 92 percent had used it by 18(41).

One study of adult marijuana users found comparable benefits from a 14-session cognitive-behavioral group treatment and a 2-session individual treatment that included motivational interviewing and advice on ways to reduce marijuana use. Participants were mostly men in their early thirties who had smoked marijuana daily for more than 10 years. By increasing patients’ awareness of what triggers their marijuana use, both treatments sought to help patients devise avoidance strategies. Use, dependence symptoms, and psychosocial problems decreased for at least 1 year following both treatments; about 30 percent of users were abstinent during the last 3-month followup period(42).

Another study suggests that giving patients vouchers that they can redeem for goods—such as movie passes, sporting equipment, or vocational training—may further improve outcomes(43).

Although no medications are currently available for treating marijuana abuse, recent discoveries about the workings of the THC receptors have raised the possibility of eventually developing a medication that will block the intoxicating effects of THC. Such a medication might be used to prevent relapse to marijuana abuse by lessening or eliminating its appeal.



2. Myth of Medical Marijuana

Q: Does marijuana pose health risks to users?

  • Marijuana is an addictive drug with significant health consequences to its users and others. Many harmful short-term and long-term problems have been documented with its use:
  • The short term effects of marijuana use include: memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
  • In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of emergency room mentions of marijuana use. From 1993-2000, the number of emergency room marijuana mentions more than tripled.
  • There are also many long-term health consequences of marijuana use. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.
  • Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including most of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. Smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette.
  • Harvard University researchers report that the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana.
  • Smoking marijuana also weakens the immune system and raises the risk of lung infections. A Columbia University study found that a control group smoking a single marijuana cigarette every other day for a year had a white-blood-cell count that was 39 percent lower than normal, thus damaging the immune system and making the user far more susceptible to infection and sickness.Users can become dependent on marijuana to the point they must seek treatment to stop abusing it. In 1999, more than 200,000 Americans entered substance abuse treatment primarily for marijuana abuse and dependence.More teens are in treatment for marijuana use than for any other drug or for alcohol. Adolescent admissions to substance abuse facilities for marijuana grew from 43 percent of all adolescent admissions in 1994 to 60 percent in 1999.
  • Marijuana is much stronger now than it was decades ago. According to data from the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of commercial-grade marijuana rose from an average of 3.71 percent in 1985 to an average of 5.57 percent in 1998. The average THC content of U.S. produced sinsemilla increased from 3.2 percent in 1977 to 12.8 percent in 1997.

Q. Does marijuana have any medical value?

  • Any determination of a drug’s valid medical use must be based on the best available science undertaken by medical professionals. The Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive study in 1999 to assess the potential health benefits of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids. The study concluded that smoking marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of any disease condition. In addition, there are more effective medications currently available. For those reasons, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication.
  • Advocates have promoted the use of marijuana to treat medical conditions such as glaucoma. However, this is a good example of more effective medicines already available. According to the Institute of Medicine, there are six classes of drugs and multiple surgical techniques that are available to treat glaucoma that effectively slow the progression of this disease by reducing high intraocular pressure.In other studies, smoked marijuana has been shown to cause a variety of health problems, including cancer, respiratory problems, increased heart rate, loss of motor skills, and increased heart rate. Furthermore, marijuana can affect the immune system by impairing the ability of T-cells to fight off infections, demonstrating that marijuana can do more harm than good in people with already compromised immune systems.
  • In addition, in a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, THC was shown to be less effective than standard treatments in helping cancer patients regain lost appetites.0
  • The American Medical Association recommends that marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled substance.The DEA supports research into the safety and efficacy of THC (the major psychoactive component of marijuana), and such studies are ongoing, supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As a result of such research, a synthetic THC drug, Marinol, has been available to the public since 1985. The Food and Drug Administration has determined that Marinol is safe, effective, and has therapeutic benefits for use as a treatment for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and as a treatment of weight loss in patients with AIDS. However, it does not produce the harmful health effects associated with smoking marijuana.
  • Furthermore, the DEA recently approved the University of California San Diego to undertake rigorous scientific studies to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis compounds for treating certain debilitating medical conditions.It’s also important to realize that the campaign to allow marijuana to be used as medicine is a tactical maneuver in an overall strategy to completely legalize all drugs. Pro-legalization groups have transformed the debate from decriminalizing drug use to one of compassion and care for people with serious diseases. The New York Times interviewed Ethan Nadelman, Director of the Lindesmith Center, in January 2000. Responding to criticism from former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey that the medical marijuana issue is a stalking-horse for drug legalization, Mr. Nadelman did not contradict General McCaffrey. “Will it help lead toward marijuana legaization?” Mr. Nadelman said: “I hope so.”

Q. Does marijuana harm anyone besides the individual who smokes it?

  • Consider the public safety of others when confronted with intoxicated drug users:Marijuana affects many skills required for safe driving: alertness, the ability to concentrate, coordination, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and signs on the road.
  • In a 1990 report, the National Transportation Safety Board studied 182 fatal truck accidents. It found that just as many of the accidents were caused by drivers using marijuana as were caused by alcohol — 12.5 percent in each case.
  • Consider also that drug use, including marijuana, contributes to crime. A large percentage of those arrested for crimes test positive for marijuana. Nationwide, 40 percent of adult males tested positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest.

Q. Is marijuana a gateway drug?

  • Yes. Among marijuana’s most harmful consequences is its role in leading to the use of other illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. Long-term studies of students who use drugs show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. While not all people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, using marijuana sometimes lowers inhibitions about drug use and exposes users to a culture that encourages use of other drugs.
  • The risk of using cocaine has been estimated to be more than 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it.

In Summary:

  • Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that poses significant health threats to users.
  • Marijuana has no medical value that can’t be met more effectively by legal drugs.
  • Marijuana users are far more likely to use other drugs like cocaine and heroin than non-marijuana users.
  • Drug legalizers use “medical marijuana” as red herring in effort to advocate broader legalization of drug use.




3: Marijuana Use

In 1999, marijuana was the primary substance of abuse… 
In 1999, marijuana was the primary substance of abuse for 49% of the Asian and Pacific Islander youth admissions, 48% of Hispanic youth admissions, and 42% of White youth admissions.
American Indian and Alaska Native youth had the lowest… 
American Indian and Alaska Native youth had the lowest percentage of male marijuana admissions (69%) in 1999 and, conversely, the highest percentage of female admissions (31%).
In 1999, White youth marijuana admissions were 77% male… 
In 1999, White youth marijuana admissions were 77% male and 23% female.
In 1999, marijuana was the primary substance of abuse… 
In 1999, marijuana was the primary substance of abuse for 47% of youth treatment admissions compared with 7% for all other ages.
In 1999, the most common primary substances of abuse… 
In 1999, the most common primary substances of abuse among Hispanic admissions were alcohol (36%), opiates (32%) and marijuana (14%).
Rates of drug dependence (the percentage of users who… 
Rates of drug dependence (the percentage of users who experience symptoms that reinforce their drug use and have trouble quitting) are higher for nicotine than for marijuana, cocaine, or alcohol.
Parents can prevent or delay their children’s use of… 
Parents can prevent or delay their children’s use of alcohol and marijuana by setting clear rules and expectations.
Alaska led the country in the number of marijuana… 
Alaska led the country in the number of marijuana arrests per capita with 417 arrests per 100,000 people.
Visits to hospital emergency departments because of… 
Visits to hospital emergency departments because of marijuana use have risen from an estimated 16,251 visits in 1991 to 76,870 in 1998.
Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to pass… 
Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to pass legislation that decriminalizes the use of medical marijuana.
Maine became the first Eastern state to pass a… 
Maine became the first Eastern state to pass a medical-marijuana law when voters approved the measure last November.
The prevalence of marijuana use among the total U.S…. 
The prevalence of marijuana use among the total U.S. population was estimated at 9.0%.
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), African… 
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), African Americans were third at 10.6% among the 11 racial/ethnic subgroups in exhibiting prevalence of marijuana use.
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), Puerto Ricans… 
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), Puerto Ricans were second highest at 10.8% among the 11 racial/ethnic subgroups in exhibiting prevalence of marijuana use.
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), Native Americans… 
In the past year, (ages 12 and older), Native Americans were highest at 15% among the 11 racial/ethnic groups in exhibiting prevalence of marijuana use.
Weekly users of marijuana were more than 5 times as… 
Weekly users of marijuana were more than 5 times as likely as those who used only 1-11 times in the past year to have sold illegal drugs in the past year (29% vs. 6%).
Weekly users of marijuana were more than 5 times as… 
Weekly users of marijuana were more than 5 times as likely as those who used only 1- 11 times in the past year to have driven under the influence of drugs (29% vs. 4%).
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 4… 
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 4 times more likely than nonusers to say they physically attacked people (25% vs. 7%).
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 5… 
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 5 times more likely than nonusers to say they had stolen from places other than home (34% vs. 6%)
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 6… 
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 6 times more likely than nonusers to say they had cut class or skipped school (60% vs. 11%)
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 6… 
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 6 times more likely as nonusers to say they had run away from home (24% vs. 4%)
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 9… 
Those adolescents who used marijuana weekly were 9 times more likely as nonusers to say they used alcohol or drugs for nonmedical purposes.
Adolescents who used marijuana monthly or more often… 
Adolescents who used marijuana monthly or more often were also more likely to be male, to live in the West, to have moved two or more times in the past year and to be living in other than a two-parent family.
20% of 16-17 year olds used marijuana 1-7 days per week… 
20% of 16-17 year olds used marijuana 1-7 days per week compared to 12% of 12-13 year olds.




4. Research on Marijuana

What are the acute effects of marijuana use?

Marijuana’s effects begin immediately after the drug enters the brain and last from 1 to 3 hours. If marijuana is consumed in food or drink, the short-term effects begin more slowly, usually in 1/2 to 1 hour, and last longer, for as long as 4 hours. Smoking marijuana deposits several times more THC into the blood than does eating or drinking the drug.

Within a few minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke, an individual’s heart begins beating more rapidly, the bronchial passages relax and become enlarged, and blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the eyes look red. The heart rate, normally 70 to 80 beats per minute, may increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute or, in some cases, even double. This effect can be greater if other drugs are taken with marijuana.

As THC enters the brain, it causes a user to feel euphoric – or “high” – by acting in the brain’s reward system, areas of the brain that respond to stimuli such as food and drink as well as most drugs of abuse. THC activates the reward system in the same way that nearly all drugs of abuse do, by stimulating brain cells to release the chemical dopamine.

A marijuana user may experience pleasant sensations, colors and sounds may seem more intense, and time appears to pass very slowly. The user’s mouth feels dry, and he or she may suddenly become very hungry and thirsty. His or her hands may tremble and grow cold. The euphoria passes after awhile, and then the user may feel sleepy or depressed. Occasionally, marijuana use produces anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.

Marijuana use impairs a person’s ability to form memories, recall events (see Marijuana, Memory, and the Hippocampus), and shift attention from one thing to another. THC also disrupts coordination and balance by binding to receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, parts of the brain that regulate balance, posture, coordination of movement, and reaction time. Through its effects on the brain and body, marijuana intoxication can cause accidents. Studies show that approximately 6 to 11 percent of fatal accident victims test positive for THC. In many of these cases, alcohol is detected as well.

In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a moderate dose of marijuana alone was shown to impair driving performance; however, the effects of even a low dose of marijuana combined with alcohol were markedly greater than for either drug alone. Driving indices measured included reaction time, visual search frequency (driver checking side streets), and the ability to perceive and/or respond to changes in the relative velocity of other vehicles.

Marijuana users who have taken high doses of the drug may experience acute toxic psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and depersonalization – a loss of the sense of personal identity, or self-recognition. Although the specific causes of these symptoms remain unknown, they appear to occur more frequently when a high dose of cannabis is consumed in food or drink rather than smoked.


5. Marijuana Vocabulary


Addiction: A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain.

Cannabinoids: Chemicals that help control mental and physical processes when produced naturally by the body and that produce intoxication and other effects when absorbed from marijuana.

Carcinogen: Any substance that causes cancer.

Dopamine: A brain chemical, classified as a neurotransmitter, found in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, motivation, and pleasure.

Hippocampus: An area of the brain crucial for learning and memory.

Hydrocarbon: Any chemical compound containing only hydrogen and carbon.

Psychoactive: Having a specific effect on the mind.

THC: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; the main active ingredient in marijuana, which acts on the brain to produce its effects.

Withdrawal: Symptoms that occur after use of a drug is reduced or stopped.



Other Resources

  • Marijuana Fact Sheet
    • An overview of information on medical marijuana, marijuana trafficking, seizures, price and purity.
  • Marijuana Fact Sheet
    • This fact sheet provides information on marijuana use, health effects, availability, and related enforcement and treatment activities.
  • Marijuana Info
    • This page lists useful resources regarding marijuana use, its effects and treatment.
  • Marijuana Photos
    • This site provides photos of marijuana, hashish, and indoor growing operations.
  • Marijuana Prevention Initiative
    • To dispel myths and misconceptions about the drug, ONDCP has launched a comprehensive marijuana prevention initiative.
  • Marijuana Publications
    • A listing of publications related to marijuana from various sources.
  • Misinformation Clouds Medical Marijuana Issue
    • This Op-Ed by Dr. Andrea Barthwell, ONDCP Deputy Director of Demand Reduction, discusses the current issues surrounding the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
  • What Americans Need to Know About Marijuana
    • This document provides important facts about our nation’s most misunderstood illegal drug.
  • Above The Influence
    • for Teens. Originally created as a part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, now a program of the non-profit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.


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