With recreational and medical marijuana legalization spreading through the states like a wildfire, many people are trying marijuana for the first time – or, at least, they would like to. With legalized marijuana use being so new, many questions surround its uses and effects. What exactly are you getting from the cannabis grow floor? Is marijuana harmful? Is it good for you? This article answers all your burning questions about marijuana, its effects, uses, and characteristics. Keep reading to learn more!
1. First of All, What is Marijuana?
Marijuana goes by many names, most of which are slang for the term “cannabis.” But if you’ve ever heard the following names…
- Mary Jane
… know that they are roughly referencing the same thing! Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant that consists of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the main component that makes you “high.” In addition to THC, marijuana plants have many other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol or CBD. It is used recreationally, medically, and for spiritual purposes and can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, or ingesting it within food or extracts.
2. What Are the Effects of Marijuana?
Because marijuana has psychoactive properties, it can have a variety of mental and physical effects. Marijuana can cause euphoria, relaxed bodily sensations, and altered states of mind. This may impact your sense of time, appetite, balance, and psychomotor skills. In extremely high quantities, it can result in anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.
Overall, most people use marijuana to unwind, relax their muscles, get creative, or laugh, as it makes most people feel pretty silly. Its effects can kick in within a matter of minutes when smoking, or upwards of 90 mins when ingesting it as an edible. Short-term effects include dry mouth, red eyes, and coughing. Marijuana is not ideal for everyone, as long-term effects can include addiction, persistent coughing, and decreased mental ability in some adults who used it regularly during adolescence.
3. When Was Marijuana Discovered?
Marijuana use dates as far back as 2800 BC, as it was popularly used as traditional medicine and a spiritual vehicle. It was used across many different groups of people and cultures, including the Chinese, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman people. Its uses have been documented in many ancient texts, reporting to treat a wide array of various health conditions. In the Hindu culture, consuming marijuana was said to please the gods.
4. Is Marijuana a Depressant?
Drugs are classified by their mental and physical effects on people. Because marijuana’s effects range depending on dosage, strain, and vehicle of consumption, categorizing its drug type is not as black-and-white as one would think. Marijuana can elevate your mood, alternate your perception of reality, and slow down brain function, therefore it is categorized as not only a depressant but also a stimulant and hallucinogen.
5. How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?
According to the American Addiction Centers, THC, the aforementioned psychoactive component of marijuana, can remain detectable in hair samples for up to 90 days. Depending on how often the individual uses, it can remain in the urine anywhere from 3 days to 1 month or longer. When smoked, the actual “high” sensation from marijuana kicks in minutes after inhaling and lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. When ingesting marijuana, its effects can begin in 30 to 90 mins post-consumption and last up to several hours – lasting up to 12 hours if consumed in high quantities.
6. Is Marijuana Addictive?
While being addicted to marijuana is less likely than getting addicted to drugs like alcohol or heroin, it is still possible to become reliant on the drug. Some people are more susceptible to becoming addicted to marijuana than others – depending on genes and lifestyles, among other factors. Seek professional help if you suspect you are addicted to marijuana.
7. Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?
Like all drugs, including alcohol, marijuana can increase the likelihood of addiction and/or experimenting with harder drugs, especially when exposed to marijuana use as an adolescent. However, the majority of people who use marijuana, do not go on to try harder drugs. Factors like an individual’s social environment are more likely to predispose them to eventually develop a substance use disorder.
8. Can You Overdose on Marijuana?
While marijuana can be addictive, it is not likely to cause an overdose. In extremely high, typically unheard of, quantities, yes, marijuana can cause dangerous, but non-fatal, side effects. However, the average consumer, even if he/she is addicted to marijuana, usually does not use anywhere near as much.
9. Can Marijuana Kill You?
While marijuana in large quantities can lead to dangerous behavior, marijuana, itself, cannot cause a fatal overdose. However, marijuana use can indirectly cause premature death in some cases, such as ones where users decide to operate vehicles or heavy machinery while under the influence of high quantities.
10. What States is Marijuana Legal in?
Marijuana is slowly becoming more and more popular across the country, with many states legalizing both recreational and medical use. According to US News, the following states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
Many of the remaining states are following suit and legalizing marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. With that, many states are also decriminalizing marijuana and reducing the criminal repercussions many individuals have been charged with.
The Bottom Line on Marijuana Use
The bottom line is that marijuana use is not for everyone. Its effects vary from person to person and depend on the strain, dosage, and vehicle of consumption. While it does not result in an overdose, it can lead to dependency and addiction. At the end of the day, marijuana is a drug with psychoactive properties and should be used responsibly. It can cause many positive effects like relaxation, reduced stress levels, and enhanced creativity, among other things, and can be a great way to unwind. However, as with all substances, consider the risks and do your research before experimenting.