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Marijuana Use

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Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug used by young people in Canada, and possibly all over the worlds.  The province of Nova Scotia has the highest marijuana users, followed by British Columbia. Typically, it is rolled up in a cigarette called a nail or joint, however, it can also be smoked through a water pipe called bong, or be brewed as a tea or mixed with food such as brownies. It has become increasingly common in the last few years, with its popularity growing on even younger audiences. Frequent use of marijuana is found to be infrequently fatally harmful, but has also been reported to have important medical effects. Marijuana is also commonly called weed or pot.

Marijuana is a dried, shredded mix of the plant Cannabis sativa’s leaves, flowers, stems and seeds. It is also present in a more concentrated form called hashish and as a sticky black liquid called hash oil. The main chemical found in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or simply THC. When THC enters the system, it initially passes through the lungs to enter the bloodstream to be carried to the brain. In the brain, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors that are necessary for neural communication. These cannabinoid receptors are most dense in the areas of the brain that influence pressure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception and coordinated movement.

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Use

After THC is absorbed in the system, the following short-term symptoms may manifest in the body. Symptoms usually onset within minutes and may last up to three to four hours.

  • Physiological effects of marijuana
    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing
    • Red, glassy eyes
    • Dry mouth
    • Increased appetite, also called “the munchies”
    • Delayed reaction time
  • Psychological effects of marijuana
    • Euphoria
    • Calmness
    • Anxiety and depression
    • Paranoia
    • “Random” thinking
    • Short-term memory loss
    • Hallucinations

Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana can also produce long-term effects on the different parts of the body if there is continued usage. Although some of these possible consequences of marijuana use are not yet scientifically proven, there are evidences present:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, aggression, decreased appetite and depressed mood
  • Increased risk for lung cancer
  • Increased risk for heart attack
  • Increased risk for respiratory problems such as
    • Lung infections
    • Chronic cough and phlegm
    • Obstructed airways
    • Chest illnesses
  • Impairment of immune system

Treatment for Marijuana Use

The goal of treatment for marijuana use is to completely stop the use of marijuana. This may be very difficult for individuals especially if they have become accustomed to marijuana. Treatment options for marijuana useare as follows:

  • Group therapy
  • Counselling
  • Drug educations
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • If a loved one is suspected of drug abuse, express your concern and explain that you are willing to help. If there is no negative reaction, suggest joining a Narcotics Anonymous program.

Although it is possible to quit on your own, it will require great determination and a tremendous amount of support from family and friends. The best way to avoid a marijuana use, and possible abuse and addiction, is to not even try it in the first place. Disclaimer: This article should not be used for self-diagnosis and should be used for information purposes only. It does not provide medical advice or treatment. Red Cross programs offer First Aid Courses that are made available to all to learn proper approach and support to individuals with marijuana use problems.


Bolen, Michael. (2013). Marijuana Use In Canada: Which Province Tokes the Most?. Huffington Post. Retrieved on September 29, 2013, from

Drug Facts: Marijuana. (2012). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on September 29, 2013, from

Goldberg, Joseph. (2012). Marijuana Use and Its Effects. WebMD. Retrieved on September 29, 2013, from

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