The most popular illicit drug in the United States is marijuana (DSHS, 2012). It comes from the plant, Cannabis sativa, which originally came from Asia. The primary active chemical that causes the “high” feeling when marijuana is smoked is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. High concentration of THC in a plant results in a high potency as well (Hart & Ksir, 2013). Marijuana has numerous street names. Pot, weed, grass, reefer, boom, and Mary Jane just to name a few. No matter what the preferred name is, marijuana is usually rolled into a cigarette, or blunt, and smoked. Less common methods of using the substance include smoking it from a pipe, brewing it as a tea, or putting it into food (NIDA, 2013).
Marijuana has been used since 2737 B.C. for medical conditions such as gout, rheumatism, malaria, constipation, and even absent-mindedness. In more recent years, THC has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea in cancer patients and in stimulating appetite in AIDS patients (Hart & Ksir, 2013). Despite these findings, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug (no medical use) and has not been approved by the FDA (NIDA, 2013). Many states have separate laws that allow the use of marijuana for adults if they have a prescription from their physician (AACAP, 2013).
The psychoactive effects of smoking marijuana vary but users commonly report feelings of euph...
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NIH. (2012, December). Drug Facts: High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved November 8, 2013, from National Institute on Drug Abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends
NIH. (2012, December). Drug Facts: Marijuana. Retrieved November 8, 2013, from National Institute on Drug Abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
NIH. (2012, 12 19). Regular marijuana use by teens continues to be a concern. Retrieved November 8, 2013, from National Institutes of Health: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2012/nida-19.htm
Schweinsburg, A. D., Schweinsburg, B. C., Nagel, B. J., Eyler, L. T., & Tapert, S. F. (2011, March). Neural correlates of verbal learning in adolescent alcohol and marijuana users. Addiction, 106(3), 564-573. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03197.x
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