Marijuana Quick Facts

Note: QueerMentalHealth.org takes no position on whether to use marijuana or any other recreational drugs whatsoever. We believe in informed decision making, harm reduction, and support access to accurate information. For this reason, I have taken care to find sources that are relatively free of pro- or anti-drug biases. As usual for the Quick Facts series, all sources are cited at the end of the article.

Marijuana is a street drug which is produced via the preparation of the Cannabis plant. The primary active ingredient is THC, but contains over 60 other cannabinoids as well. Marijuana is typically smoked or otherwise inhaled, or consumed orally. In the US, it is classified as a Schedule I drug.

Other  Names: Cannabis
Street Names: Pot, Mary Jane, Weed, Reefer

Primary Uses:

  • Recreational
  • Religious/Spiritual experiences
  • Relief of nausea
  • Pain relief

Other Uses:

  • Bipolar Disorder (has been reported to be used as a ‘poor man’s mood stabilizer’)
  • Depression
  • Stimulation of appetite, especially for chemotherapy & HIV/AIDS patients
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Glaucoma

Availability: Marijuana is typically obtained through illegal sales. It is available in both unprocessed leaf/flower and resin forms. Alternatively, it can be obtained legally after being prescribed by a doctor in some jurisdictions when used for medicinal purposes. Cannibinoids are also available by prescription in pill form such as Marinol and Nabilone.

Contraindications (note: because marijuana literature is not typically presented in a format suited for pharmaceutical medications, I will attempt my best to follow the standard format we use for our Quick Facts on other drugs)

  • Schizophrenia
  • History of psychosis
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Use of psychiatric medication that cause weight gain
  • Pregnancy & breastfeeding (THC is passed to the fetus, and through breast milk)
  • Respiratory illness
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of suicidal thoughts/attempts

Side Effects:

  • Reddened eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in temperature sensation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Decreased alertness
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased appetite
  • Depersonalization
  • Altered perception
  • Euphoria
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Psychosis

note: Chemical properties are for THC only
Metabolized: Liver
Excreted: Kidneys, Fecal
Half-life: 1.6 – 59 hours

Withdrawal Effects:

  • Lowered mood
  • Decreased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_effects_of_cannabis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_withdrawal

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7826348

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