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Marijuana Facts & Information

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana.
dried marijuana image

Street Names

Pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, boom, ganja, hash, Mary Jane, cannabis, bubble gum, northern lights, fruity juice, gangster, skunk and chronic.

What Does Marijuana Look Like?

Marijuana looks like a mixture of dried leaves, sticks and flowers. It can range in color from green to brown.

How Is It Taken/Used?

The most common way to take Marijuana is to smoke it. Users will roll it into a cigarette "joint," put into an emptied cigar casing "blunts" and smoke it in a pipe or a water-pipe "bong." It can also be baked into food and eaten or mixed in tea.

What Are the Effects of Marijuana?

People smoke marijuana because it elevates their mood and relaxes them. Depending on the level of THC, users may also experience euphoria, hallucinations and paranoia.

What are the Hazards of Using Marijuana?

Some of the common discomforts found when using marijuana include dry mouth, swollen eyelids, bloodshot eyes, loss of coordination and an accelerated heart rate.

Short-term Hazards include:

•Anxiety and paranoia
•Impaired memory
•Difficulty in thinking
•Learning difficulties
•Lack of attention and focus
•Poor driving skills

Long-Term Hazards Include:

•Respiratory problems
•Heightened risk of infections, especially the lungs
•Poor short-term recall
•Inability to shift attention normally
•Inability to understand complex information
•An increased risk of developing lung, head and neck cancers
•Lack of motivation
•Decreased sperm count in men
•Irregular menstruation in women

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent). Thus, many of the nearly 7 percent of high-school seniors who (according to annual survey data) report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction, if not already addicted (besides functioning at a sub-optimal level all of the time).

Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent.

Need Help?

To get help anywhere in British Columbia, call Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service 1-800-663-1441 (throughout BC) or 604-660-9382 (in Greater Vancouver)

For more information on dealing with alcohol or other drugs, visit