Common Drug Names:

Bud, dope, ganja, grass, weed, trees, skunk, smoke, Aunt Mary, BC bud, blunts, boom, gangster, hash, hydro, indo, joint, kif, mota, yerba, pot, reefer, sinsemilla, herb, Mary Jane, green, chronic

Marijuana, also called cannabis, is a psychoactive plant that is most commonly smoked, though chemical compounds in the plant may be incorporated into products that are consumed orally. The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Marijuana intoxication produces effects including:

  • Altered sense of time.
  • Impaired memory.
  • Slowed reflexes and impaired motor skills.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Cognitive impairments.

Long-term detrimental effects of marijuana may include:

Respiratory problems: Marijuana smoke has many of the same irritating and lung-damaging properties as tobacco smoke. Long-term users may develop a chronic cough and are at higher risk of lung infections.

Cardiovascular risk: Marijuana ingestion increases the heart rate for several hours, increasing the chance of heart attack or stroke. This may aggravate pre-existing heart conditions in long-term users and those who are older—placing them at greater risk of a cardiovascular event.

Mental health effects: Long-term marijuana use can decrease an individual’s performance on memory-related tasks and cause a decrease in motivation and interest in everyday activities. Marijuana is also known to intensify symptoms in users with schizophrenia.

Child development: Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus’s brain and has been linked to behavioral problems in babies.

Psychological dependence: Like most other drugs of abuse, individuals who use marijuana for long periods of time can develop a dependence on it. Signs of dependence in a user include the need to use marijuana to cope with everyday tasks and the experience of cravings and anxiety when marijuana is not available.

Marijuana abuse can lead to dependence and withdrawal upon cessation of use. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression

Marijuana addiction can be treated by a rehabilitation center or in outpatient treatment. Behavioral interventions, which may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, are used to help during rehabilitation therapy.


Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the United States, and its use is growing.

Marijuana use is widespread among adolescents and young adults. Teens’ perceptions of the risks of marijuana use have steadily declined over the past decade, possibly related to increasing public debate about legalizing or loosening restrictions on marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. Learn more about the scope of marijuana use in the United States.

Data from Wright County Minnesota Student Survey

Data in brackets indicate significant change from previous year.