What is Marijuana?

What is Marijuana?

  • Marijuana is a flowering herb, also known as the Cannabis plant
  • After the plant has been fertilized, leaves are picked and dried for use.
  • Marijuana is most typically ingested by smoking, but can also be boiled down into a solution, baked with, vaporized, etc.
  • It has been illegal in the United States since the early 1900’s, though its use stretches back thousands of years
  • It is currently legal in Colorado and Washington State for recreational use, and several other states for medicinal purposes.
  • In most states, Marijuana remains illegal
  • Marijuana sales produce millions of dollars a year for drug dealers, Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, and Mexican drug cartels who grow, produce, and sell marijuana illegally via a complex crime network

What Marijuana Can Do To Your Body & Mind

  • Decreased lung capacity/ increased chance of lung infections
  • Paranoia/Anxiety/Depression
  • Heart palpitations
  • Neurological/Behavioral issues in children born to mothers who smoked marijuana while pregnant
  • Impaired motor coordination and judgment
  • Long term use can lead to a drop in IQ, permanent short-term memory loss, and Panic disorder

So then, honestly…..Why do people use Marijuana?

(A letter from our Prevention Staff)

Dear Teens,

The truth is, people have been seeking to alter their state of mind for thousands of years.  Coffee, alcohol, and marijuana have been cultivated and produced since the beginning of formal civilizations, roughly 5,000 years ago.

As you can imagine, life was a little bit more difficult back then.  Drugs and alcohol have become heavily ingrained into our culture, and as such have gained acceptance through ‘drug-culture.’

In the early 1900’s, when marijuana was first made illegal in the United States, our government and other civic organizations launched a huge campaign against drugs like marijuana, which included the propaganda film ‘Reefer Madness.’ The 1936 film depicts several characters acting erratically, and psychotically while smoking marijuana.

Then came the 1960’s-1970’s, when many college students and Vietnam soldiers took up smoking marijuana, and ‘drug culture’ was born.  Young people who had been fed propaganda regarding drugs began to form their own opinions, and have their own experiments with drugs and alcohol.

Since then, it has been difficult to convince kids and teens about the dangers of drugs such as marijuana.  They have become mistrustful of government and civic organizations, despite continued scientific and social experiments which prove how drugs like marijuana can negatively affect their lives.

Marijuana is capable of creating a ‘euphoric’ feeling, whereby the person under the influence enters a different state of consciousness marked by; sensory alterations, thought pattern changes, and chemicals like; dopamine and norepinephrine being released at increased rates.

The problem with this is, that while some people may experience ‘euphoria,’ others enter an increased state of agitation, paranoia, and anxiety.  Over time, in people who chronically smoke marijuana, a state of agitation, paranoia, and anxiety, will replace feelings of euphoria.  The problem for these individuals then becomes, a state of dependence or addiction, to something that causes them to feel negatively.

The teenage years are a time of experimentation, growth, and change.  Kids are always looking for new experiences, and testing out the world as they first begin to enter it independently.  That’s great!  However, many times drugs and alcohol become a quintessential part of this experimentation, without proper knowledge of the consequences.

You might not die from smoking marijuana, you might not crash your car, and you might not develop lung cancer…..until later in life.  However, these things are still a possibility, and that’s not a chance you’d want to be on the losing end of.  At the very least, smoking marijuana is expensive, can disrupt trust within the family, can make it difficult to focus or do well in school, and can harm the very soft, and sensitive tissue in your lungs. (Those things are the only pair you get!)

Get the facts, know yourself, and your values, talk to your family, and watch out for peer pressure.


The Prevention Staff & Healthy Communities That Care