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The Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use, over time, has been associated with amotivation, problems with memory recall, and exacerbations of existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Marijuana use, over time, has been associated with amotivation, problems with memory recall, and exacerbations of existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. It is normally smoked as a joint or in a pipe and can also be smoked as a blunt. Marijuana can be mixed with food, brewed as tea or used in the form of hash oil. There is no simple answer to what the marijuana high is like, as this varies for each individual.

This dry mix of green and brown mixed flowers, seeds, stems and leaves comes from the hemp plant called Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active chemical in the plant.

Marijuana may be harmful. There is a link between long-term marijuana use and increased rates of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Addiction and withdrawal can be common with marijuana use. Marijuana also increases a person's heart rate for up to three hours after use. Because people who smoke marijuana inhale deeply and hold their breath, marijuana exposes the lungs to more carcinogens that may lead to cancer.

Marijuana Effects Quiz question 1

Although it is illegal in most states, marijuana may be used in medical programs in some states. This is recognized as an exception by the U.S. government, and patients may have access to the drug for medical purposes only. This program is used to help those with serious conditions untreated by other medications.

For more information about medical marijuana, call our hotline at 1-800-943-0566. We have information about marijuana rehab centers, treatment centers, detox centers and more.

Marijuana Effects Quiz question 2
Short-Term Effects of Marijuana

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)the active chemical compound in marijuanaexerts its physiologic effects through its interaction with endogenous cannabinoid receptors.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the active chemical compound in marijuana—exerts its physiologic effects through its interaction with endogenous cannabinoid receptors.

The short-term effects of marijuana occur because THC rapidly moves from the lungs into the blood. This chemical acts on cannabinoid receptors that lead to a high for users. These receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence concentration, thinking, sensory and time perception, pleasure, memory and coordination. A short-term effect of marijuana normally stops shortly after use.

Users may experience temporary memory loss, difficult coordination issues, pleasure, problems understanding time or a loss of time and other side effects. Dependency can form after marijuana use, even when it is used as a short-term drug.
Marijuana Effects Quiz question 3

Side Effects
When a person is high on marijuana, the side effects of marijuana include:

  • Distorted perceptions
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulties thinking or problem solving
  • Addiction
  • Dependency
  • Tolerance
  • Pleasure

If you or a loved one would like more information about marijuana use and side effects, call our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-943-0566. Our staff can guide you get help for marijuana use you need to stay clean and live a drug-free lifestyle.

Marijuana Effects Quiz question 4

Credit: Howcast

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana
The long-term effects of marijuana can lead to an adverse effect on memory and learning. This can last for a few days after using the drug or can last for weeks. Studies on the effects of long-term marijuana abuse have been inconsistent, but this is because many people who use marijuana may also be taking other drugs, be having residual effects or may be suffering withdrawal symptoms. The long-term effect of marijuana can be unpredictable.

Long-term use can lead to addiction in some people. This means that the drug user will have the compulsion to take the drug, despite the fact that it can cause harm. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately nine percent of users become addicted to this drug. Daily users can expect this percent to rise to approximately 25 to 50 percent.

Marijuana Effects Quiz question 5
Marijuana Dependency or Marijuana Dependence
Marijuana dependency is possible within a few uses of this drug. Dependency means that a person will need to take the drug to feel that he or she is functioning correctly. Long-term use can lead to addiction. Up to 50 percent of users who take this drug daily are addicted, according to NIDA.

Marijuana may be used in some states of the U.S. for medical treatment. This is only a treatment available by prescription and is not regularly given without serious consideration of the patient's health.
Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment
Marijuana abuse can lead to addiction. Addiction can be treated, and some patients may recognize withdrawal symptoms that can occur when not participating in a withdrawal program. Some withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug

The symptoms will begin within a day of abstinence. These symptoms then peak after two to three days and will subside within two weeks.

How much marijuana is consumed every year?

United States

The total quantity of marijuana used by the US population has seen massive growth from 2000 to 2010, nearly doubling within that period.

Street price of marijuana

United States

Price per gram

In some ways, illicit drugs are a market like any other: over the past decade, the average street price of a gram of marijuana has ranged from a low of $6.72 to a high of $7.50.

How much are people spending on marijuana?

United States

In 2010, Americans spent nearly as much money on pot as they did on their pets - the size of the US market for marijuana was over four-fifths that of the market for pet products.

Marijuana Effects Quiz question 6

Marijuana addiction can be treated by a rehabilitation center. There are currently no medications that can aid withdrawal, so patients will go through a medical detoxification program that provides assistance in managing the symptoms of withdrawal. Behavioral interventions, which may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, are used to help during rehabilitation therapy. For more information on how marijuana addiction is treated, contact our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-943-0566.


Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.