A person cannot overdose and die from marijuana use and this has led to the misperception that the drug is harmless. Recent data shows that 30 percent of those who use marijuana develop some degree of dependence upon the drug which is related to a marijuana use disorder. Teens that start using the drug before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder. The disorder becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. Additionally, research shows that there can be a negative mental health impact on users, especially those who are using marijuana containing high levels of THC. Marijuana use has been associated with schizophrenia, anxiety and depression in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders. Exposure to marijuana smoke can harm the lungs just like cigarettes do.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the nation. It is considered a Schedule I drug in the United States which means it is illegal under federal law, although some states have legalized its use. Marijuana is also called pot, weed, herb, grass, bud, Mary Jane, ganja, and many other slang terms. It is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that produces intoxicating effects that people seek. Marijuana can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joint), in pipes, water pipes (bongs), or in blunts (rolled in cigar wraps). Marijuana can also be consumed when mixed with foods such as brownies or cookies (edibles).