What is Marijuana or Hashish and how is it used?
Hashish is a potent form of cannabis produced by collecting and compressing trichomes, the most potent material from cannabis plants.
Trichomes are the fine growths on cannabis plants that produce a sticky resin.
Marijuana is a green, brown or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa.
There are over 200 street names for marijuana including pot, herb, dope, reefer, grass, weed, ganja, Mary Jane, boom, gangster and chronic.
Sinsemilla, hashish and hash oil are stronger forms of marijuana.
It is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or a nail) or in a pipe or bong. In recent years, marijuana has appeared in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains.
THC has been used to treat wasting syndrome in AIDS patients - click here for details.
What are the short-term effects of Marijuana or Hashish use?
The short-term effects of marijuana or hashish use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch); difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks.
THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.
What are the long-term effects of Marijuana or Hashish use?
People who smoke marijuana often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. They are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Effects of Heavy Marijuana or Hashish Use on Learning and Social Behavior
Marijuana or hashish affects memory, judgment and perception. Learning and attention skills are impaired among people who use marijuana or hashish heavily. Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who use marijuana have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends.
Effects on Pregnancy
Any drug of abuse can affect a mother's health during pregnancy. Some studies have found that babies born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy were smaller than those born to mothers who did not use the drug. In general, smaller babies are more likely to develop health problems.
A nursing mother who uses marijuana passes some of the THC to the baby in her breast milk. Research indicates that the use of marijuana by a mother during the first month of breast-feeding can impair the infant's motor development.
A drug is addicting if it causes compulsive, uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences.
While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug.
Some frequent, heavy users of marijuana develop a tolerance for it. Tolerance means that the user needs larger doses of the drug to get the same desired results that he or she used to get from smaller amounts.
Extent of Use
Marijuana and hashish remain the most commonly used illicit drugs in the United States. There were an estimated 2.1 million people who started using marijuana in 1998. According to data from the 1998 NHSDA, more than 72.0 million Americans (33 percent) 12 years of age and older have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, and almost 18.7 million (8.6 percent) had used marijuana or hashish in the past year. In 1985, 56.5 million Americans (29.4 percent) had tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, and 26.1 million (13.6 percent) had used marijuana within the past year.
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