Marijuana -“pot or weed”
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and
brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems and
seeds. These are from the hemp plant
Cannabis sativa. The main mind altering
ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
How is marijuana used?
Marijuana is usually smoked in hand rolled
cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes
(bongs). It can also be mixed in food or
brewed as a tea.
How does marijuana affect health?
There can be short and long term effects on
your physical and mental health.
ξ Heart: Marijuana raises your heart
rate 20-100% shortly after smoking.
This can last up to 3 hours. You have
a greater risk of heart attack in the
first hour after smoking. It can also
raise your blood pressure.
ξ Lungs: Regular marijuana smokers
can have many of the same lung
problems as tobacco smokers. These
can be daily cough, chest illnesses
ξ Mental Health: Using a lot of
marijuana can produce hallucinations
and paranoia. It can add to
depression and anxiety. There may
be less motivation.
ξ Driving: Marijuana causes poor
judgment and motor skills. Several
studies found that smoking more
than doubles a driver’s risk of being
in an accident.
What about Medical Marijuana?
The FDA has approved marijuana for pain
and nausea in several states. Doctors
prescribe it for illnesses such as cancer,
HIV, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma. It is
not legal in Wisconsin.
Is Marijuana addictive?
Research shows that about 9% of users
become addicted. The number is larger for
those that start young and those that smoke
daily. Daily smokers who stop may have
irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and drug
craving. For more information on marijuana
go to National Institute on Drug Abuse:
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have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©7/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7542.