Marijuana is a mixture of dried and shredded leaves, stems and seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The mixture can be green, brown or grey in color. Marijuana’s key chemical (the one influencing the brain function) is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. But 400 other chemicals are present in marijuana. In any case THC works by releasing the pleasure-causing chemical, dopamine, in the brain.
Street names: pot, grass, weed, reefer, Mary Jane, boom, kif, and ganja.
It can be smoked in a cigarette called a joint. It may be smoked through a water pipe called a bong or in a blunt (hollowed out cigar filled with the plant). It may also be brewed in a tea or mixed with food (“special brownies).
Marijuana has a relatively low addiction potential because the withdrawal effects aren’t very severe and tolerance builds slowly. Psychological dependence, however, can be a significant issue. You may feel that you must use the drug in order to relax. Using marijuana depresses your brain function to the point where chronic use results in lethargy and reduction in motivation that may effect functioning at work, school or home.