Marijuana - Frequently Asked Questions

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What is marijuana?

  • Marijuana is a drug.
  • It acts as a hallucinogen that alter perceptions, thoughts, and feelings.
  • THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in marijuana.
  • Marijuana is usually smoked as a:
    • cigarette (called joints)
    • cigar (blunts)
    • in pipes
    • in water pipes (bongs)
  • Marijuana can also be cooked in foods such as brownies.

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What are the short-term effects?

Marijuana affects people in different ways. Possible side-effects are:

  • altered perception of time, distance and space
  • impaired judgment
  • loss of coordination
  • disorientation
  • red eye
  • dry mouth and throat ("pasties")
  • increased appetite ("the munchies")
  • sleepiness
  • racing heart rate
  • panic attacks or feeling paranoid

The effects are worse when mixed with alcohol.

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What are the long-term effects?

If smoked frequently, regular use can:

  • make it difficult to concentrate.
  • reduce memory and attention span.
  • result in problems with school and work.
  • produce a psychological dependence and possible physical dependence.
  • increase risk of lung cancer.
  • worsen mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

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How am I at risk?

  • The risks associated with marijuana use fall into 4 categories:
    • physical health
    • psychological health
    • safety risks
    • legal risks

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