Globally, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, marijuana is a mood-altering drug that affects almost every organ in the body.
In 2017, 6 percent or about 1 in 16 high school seniors in the United States reported using marijuana (cannabis) every day. The number of 12th graders who think marijuana use is risky has halved in the last 20 years.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.8 million, or 80.6 percent of people who used illicit drugs in the U.S. used marijuana in the month before being surveyed.
People can smoke marijuana, inhale it through vapor, brew it as a tea, apply it as a balm, or eat it in products, such as brownies or chocolate bars.
Medical marijuana refers to either whole marijuana or its ingredients, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which forms the base of a limited number of approved medications.
Medical marijuana is not subject to governmental standardization, making its ingredients and potency unknown. It is not legal in all states.
Fast facts on marijuana:
- The primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabidinol (THC).
- Marijuana contains more than 120 compounds, which are likely to have different properties.
- The effects of recreational marijuana use include lightheadedness, a feeling of relaxation, increased appetite, and reduced blood pressure.
Marijuana comes from the dried flowering tops, leaves, stems, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa (hemp) plant.
Humans have used marijuana for hundreds of years for fiber (hemp), seed oils, seed, medical treatment, and recreationally.
There is some evidence that marijuana or some of its components — such as CBD — may be useful for relieving severe pain, inflammation, nausea, and chronic conditions.
However, CBD is just one of at least 120 substances (cannabinoids) found in marijuana. People have many health concerns about the use of the drug.
Another primary component of marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the key mind-altering (psychoactive) substance in marijuana. It acts on specific brain receptors, causing possible mood changes, depression, suicidal thinking, memory issues, and disruption to normal learning abilities. It may also produce dependency.
The compound is also known to stimulate appetite (informally known as “the munchies”) and induce a relaxed state, as well as other effects on sense of smell, hearing, and eyesight. THC can also cause fatigue. In some people, THC may reduce aggression.