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What is Marijuana and what effects could it have on me?

The effect that cannabis has depends on the strength, how often it's smoked, how recently it was smoked and how the body naturally reacts to the drug.

Contributed by: Hopefull

Marijuana is a common term for the hemp plant, Cannabis spp. Botanically, cannabis is classified into three distinct species
: sativa, indica, and ruderalis.  Most cannabis plants grown for smoking are hybrids of sativa and indica, although there are a few strains which incorporate ruderalis genetics.  Cannabis is typically consumed as the the crude drug, composed of the dried flowering tops ("buds"), but a wide variety of extracts can be prepared from the raw material. The most common of these are hashish and hash oil, although cannabis-infused butter or cannabis tinctures are also sometimes used.  Typically users smoke the drug, as this allows the most accurate titration of dosage and virtually instant effects, but it can also be added to foods and beverages. Marijuana varies in widely in potency, depending on a wide variety of factors in the growing, curing, and packaging process.

The most abundant active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is present in all parts of both the male and female plants but is most concentrated in the resin (cannabin) in the flowering tops of the female. Hashish, a more powerful form of the drug, is made by collecting and drying this resin. It has been reported to be about eight times as strong as the marijuana typically smoked in the United States, but this figure is highly suspect considering the increasing potency of available cannabis.  A well-grown plant coming form a strong genetic background can yield a product containing 20 cannabinoids; this means that if you're smoking well-grown cannabis, it's physically impossible for hashish to be 8 times as potent. 

It's also very important to note that there are many cannabinoids present in cannabis besides THC, and these almost certainly contribute to the effects.  Any experienced smoker will tell you that the specifics of the high can vary widely from strain to strain.  Since strains with the same THC content can be felt to have substantially different subjective highs, the only reasonable explanation is that at least one or several of these other structurally-related chemicals are centrally active.  Strains with more sativa in their pedigree will tend to be more cerebral highs, while indica-heavy strains tend to be much "stonier" and often encourage couch-lock.

Mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating from 2700 BC, marijuana long has been considered valuable as an analgesic, an anesthetic, an antidepressant, an antibiotic, and a sedative. Although it was usually used externally (e.g., as a balm or smoked), in the 19th century its tips were sometimes administered internally to treat gonorrhea and angina pectoris.

The effect that cannabis has depends on the potency, genetics of the plant, growth conditions, maturity of the plant at harvest, and the curing techniques.  Factors that vary from individual to individual include frequency of smoking, how recently it was last smoked, and how the body naturally reacts to the drug (this last factor is particularly important).  The method of ingestion also plays a very substantial role.  An oral dose is generally much more sedative and long-lasting than a smoked dose, and can sometimes be quite disorienting even for experienced users.


  • Mood lift
  • Relaxation, stress reduction
  • Creative, philosophical or deep thinking...ideas flow more easily
  • Increased appreciation of music.
  • Increased awareness of senses(eating, drinking, smell)
  • Change in experience of muscle fatigue. Pleasent body feel.Increase in body/mind connection.
  • Pain relief (headaches, cramps)
  • reduced nausea (used medically for this)


  • Increased appetite, snacky-ness
  • General change in consciousness (as with many psychoactives)
  • Tiredness
  • Blood shot eyes (more common with certain varieties of cannabis and inexperienced users)
  • Mouth dryness
  • Interrupts linear memory.
  • Difficulty following a train of thought.
  • Cheek, jaw, facial tension (less commonly reported)


  • Nausea (not commonly reported)
  • Coughing, asthma, upper respiratory problems
  • Difficulty with short-term memory during effects and during periods of frequent use.
  • Slowness and delayed reactions, especially dangerous when driving or operating machinery.
  • Racing heart, agitation, and tenseness.
  • Mild to severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks at very high doses (usually oral) or in sensitive users
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Paranoid & anxious thoughts more frequent
  • Possible dependence on cannabis

  • The issue of cannabis withdrawal is somewhat more controversial.  There are many users who scoff at the idea that cannabis could be considered addictive.  It has long been considered to be psychologically habituating, but it wasn't until the last few decades that pharmacologists began to describe a physical withdrawal syndrome that develops on ceasing to use cannabis.  On the other hand, there are also countless stories of daily cannabis users who decide to quit cannabis one day, and do so successfully without looking back.  Due to the abundance of these reports, it would seem that a large number of people are essentially immune to the physically habituating effects of cannabis.  Nevertheless, cannabis withdrawal is very real, and is typically characterized by insomnia, loss of appetite (sometimes including the inability to eat any food for a few days), aggression and irritability, general dysphoria and anxiety, and an inability to focus.

    In many countries the use and possession of marijuana is illegal. Don't EVER cross a border while in possession of ANY illegal drug.
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