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Marijuana

two teens Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Although marijuana contains over 400 chemicals, the main chemical ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces its mind-altering effects.

Users may call it blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed, hash, tea, chronic, 420, Aunt Mary, Ash, hydro, indo, kif, or yerba.

How is Marijuana Used?
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. It may also be vaporized, which means it is heated without burning and the gasses inhaled.

Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish; and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil.
What Are the Risks Associated with Marijuana Use?
Short-term effects of marijuana include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination. Chronic marijuana use is associated with amotivational syndrome, characterized by apathy, impaired of judgment, memory and concentration, and loss of motivation, ambition and interest in the pursuit of personal goals.

High doses of marijuana can result in mental confusion, panic reactions and hallucinations. As a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish; and as a sticky black liquid, it is known as hash oil. Researchers have also found an association between marijuana use and an increased risk of depression; an increased risk and other psychotic disorders, especially for teens with a genetic predisposition. Extended use may cause suppression of the immune system.

Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving.

Marijuana Use in NYC
  • Marijuana is the most frequently misused drug in New York City.
  • In 2008-2009, past year use among New Yorkers aged 12 or older was 13.5% or 849,000 individuals.
  • Self-reported marijuana use is highest among those aged 18-25 years old.
  • In 2011, 17.7% or 42,000 NYC High School students surveyed reported using marijuana one or more times in the 30 days prior.

► See Related NYC Health Department Publications

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Last Updated: May 30, 2013