Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering (e.g., psychoactive) compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering.1 

The National Institute for Drug Abuse lists some common effects of marijuana use:

  • Feeling relaxed, sleepy, or “high”
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Distorted perceptions and senses (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • Motor skill impairments (timing, coordination, reaction time)
  • Memory, attention, and learning impairments
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and appetite
  • Coughing or throat irritation
  • Respiratory issues or lung injuries

Marijuana is the most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research suggests that 3 in 10 people who use marijuana may have some form of marijuana use disorder, meaning they are unable to stop using marijuana even though it is causing health and social problems in their lives. For people who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 and who use marijuana often (daily/near daily), the risk of developing marijuana use disorder is even greater.

1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2017.

2 Substance Abuse Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. SAMHSA. Accessed December 2019.