What is Marijuana?
Also known as cannabis, pot, weed, grass, and many other street names, marijuana is the most commonly used substance after alcohol.1 In 2002, 11% of 12-year-olds or older in the U.S. were marijuana users. In 2019, that jumped to 17.5%.2
The cannabis plant contains THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical that changes brain function and can produce the high that many people feel when taking marijuana. It over activates parts of the brain, causing the high that many people feel.3
Ways to Consume Marijuana
People have several options for how they choose to consume marijuana, including:3
- Smoking in joints, through pipes or bongs, or in blunts.
- Vaping, which helps the user avoid inhaling smoke by instead inhaling the vapor.
- Mixed in food as edibles, such as in brownies, cookies and candy.
- Dabbing, which is a method of smoking THC-rich resins extracted from cannabis.
When marijuana is smoked, THC gets into the bloodstream, brain, and other organs quickly, and is absorbed more slowly when eaten.3
As more states move to fully legalize marijuana use or decriminalize it and allow it for medical use, it’s acceptance continues to grow, suggesting fewer people believe regular marijuana use is risky and can potentially negatively affect their health.3 Although many states have legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes, it remains illegal at the federal level.