See also Dronabinol

Pronunciation: mair-i-WAHN-uh (also pronounced mah-ri-HWAH-nuh)

Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number: 8063-14-7

Formal Names: Cannabis, Cannabis sativa, Hashish, Marihuana, Sinsemilla

Informal Names: A-Bomb (with opium or heroin), Acapulco Gold, Acapulco Red, Ace, Afgani Indica, African Black, African Bush, Airplane, Alamout Black Hash (with belladonna), Alice B. Toklas (baked in brownie), AMP (with PCP, formaldehyde, or other substance), Angola, Ashes, Assassin of Youth, Astro Turf, Atomic Bomb (with heroin), Atshitshi, Aunt Mary, Baby, Baby Bhang, Bad Seed, Bamba, Bambalacha, Bammy, Banano (mixed with cocaine), Bar, Bash, Bazooka (with coca paste), Belyando Spruce, B-40 (mixed with tobacco and alcohol), Bhang, Black, Black Bart, Black Ganga, Black Gold, Black Gunion, Black Mo, Black Moat, Black Mote (with honey), Blanket, Blast, Block, Blonde, Blue de Hue, Blue Sage, Blue Sky Blond, Blunt, Bo, Bo-Bo, Bobo Bush, Bohd, Bomb, Bomber, Bone, Boo, Boo Boo Bama, Boom, Broccoli, Bud, Buda, Buddha (with opium), Burnie, Bush, Butter, Butter Flower, Cambodian Red, Cam Red, Cam Trip, Can, Canade (with heroin), Canadian Black, Canappa, Cancelled Stick, Candy Blunt (with codeine), Carmabis, Catnip, Caviar (with cocaine), Cavite All Star, Cest, Chamba, Champagne (with cocaine), Charas, Charge, Cheeba, Cheeo, Chiba Chiba, Chicago Black, Chicago Green, Chips (with PCP), Chira, Chocolate, Christmas Tree, Chronic, Chunky, Churus, Citrol, Clicker (with formaldehyde), Clickums (with PCP), Climb, Cochornis, Coli, Coliflor Tostao, Colombian, Colorado Cocktail, Columbus Black, Cosa, Crack Back (with crack cocaine), Crazy Weed, Cripple, Crying Weed, Cryppie, Cryptonie, CS, Cube (tablet form), Culican, Dagga, Dawamesk, Dew, Diablito (with crack cocaine), Diambista, Dimba, Ding, Dinkie Dow, Dirt Grass, Dirty Joint (with crack), Ditch, Ditch Weed, Djamba, Domestic, DonaJuana, DonaJuanita, Don Jem, Don Juan, Donk (with PCP), Doob, Doobee, Doobie, Doradilla, Draf, Drag Weed, Dry High, Dubbe, Dube, Duby, Durong, Duros, Dust (combined with other substances), Earth, El Diablito (with cocaine, heroin, and PCP), El Diablo (with cocaine and heroin), Elephant, Endo, Esra, Fallbrook Redhair, Fatty, Feeling, Fine Stuff, Finger, Finger Lid, Fir, Flower, Flower Tops, Fraho, Frajo, Frios (with PCP), Fry (with PCP or other substances), Fry Daddy (with crack cocaine), Fry Sticks (with PCP), Fu, Fuel (with insect poison), Gage, Gange, Gangster, Ganja, Garbage, Gash, Gasper, Gauge, Geek (with crack cocaine), Ghana, Giggle Smoke, Giggle Weed, Gimmie (with crack cocaine), Goblet of Jam, Gold,

Golden, Golden Leaf, Gold Star, Gong, Gonj, Good Butt, Good Giggles, Goody-Goody, Goofy Butt, Grass, Grasshopper, Grata, Green, Green Buds, Green Goddess, Greeter, Gremmies (with cocaine), Greta, Griefo, Griefs, Grifa, Griff, Griffa, Griffo, Gunga, Gungeon, Gungun, Gunja, Gyve, Haircut, Hanhich, Happy Cigarette, Harsh, Has, Hash, Hawaiian, Hawaiian Black, Hawaiian Homegrown Hay, Hay, Hemp, Herb, Herba, Hit, Hocus, Homegrown, Hooch, Hooter, Hot Stick, Hydro, Illies (with PCP), Illing (with PCP), Indian Boy, Indian Hay, Indian Hemp, Indo, Indonesian Bud, Instaga, Instagu, J, Jamaican Gold, Jane, Jay, Jim Jones (with cocaine and PCP), Jive, Joint, Jolly Green, Joy Smoke, Joy Stick, Juanita, Juan Valdez, Juice Joint (with crack cocaine), Juja, Ju-Ju, Jumbo (with crack), Kalakit, Kali, Kansas Grass, Kate Bush, Kaya, Kee, Kentucky Blue, Key, KGB (Killer Green Bud), Ki, Kick Stick, Kief, Kiff, Killer Weed (with PCP), Kilter, Kind, King Bud, Kumba, Lace (with cocaine), Lakbay Diva, Laughing Grass, Laughing Weed, Leaf, Leak (with PCP), Leno, Lid (quantity), Light Stuff, Lima, Liprimo (with crack), Little Smoke, LL, Llesca, Loaf, Lobo, Loco, Loco-weed, Log, Love Boat (with formaldehyde or heroin), Love Leaf (with PCP), Lovelies (with PCP), Love Weed, Lubage, M, Machinery, Macon, Maconha, Mafu, Magic Smoke, Manhattan Silver, Mari, Marimba, Mary, Mary and Johnny, Mary Ann, Mary Jane, Mary Jonas, Mary Warner, Mary Weaver, Matchbox (quantity), Maui Wauie, Maui-Wowie, Meg, Megg, Meggie, Messorole, Mexican Brown, Mexican Green, Mexican Locoweed, Mexican Red, Mighty Mezz, M.J., M.O., Mo, Modams, Mohasky, Mohasty, Monte, Mooca, Moocah, Mooster, Moota, Mooter, Mootie, Mootos, Mor A Grifa, Mota, Mother, Moto, M.U., Mu, Muggie, Muggle, Muta, Mutah, Mutha, Nail, Nigra, Number, O.J., Oolies (with crack), Ozone (marijuana alone or with PCP and crack), Pack, Pakalolo, Pakistani Black, Panama Cut, Panama Gold, Panama Red, Panatella, Parsley, Pasto, Pat, P-Dogs (with crack), Pin, Pocket Rocket, Pod, Poke, Pot, Potlikker, Potten Bush, Prescription, Pretendica, Pretendo, Primo (with crack), Queen Ann's Lace, Ragweed, Railroad Weed, Rainy Day Woman, Rangood, Rasta Weed, Red Bud, Red Cross, Red Dirt, Reefer, Righteous Bush, Rip, Roach, Roacha, Rockets, Rom-pums (with horse tranquilizer), Root, Rope, Rose Marie, Rough Stuff, Rubia, Salt & Pepper, Sandwich Bag (quantity), Santa Marta, Sasfras, Scissors, Seeds, Sen, Sess, Sezz, Shake, Siddi, Sinse, Skunk, Smoke, Smoke Canada, Snop, Speedboat (mixed with crack cocaine and PCP), Spliff, Splim, Square Mackerel, Squirrel (with crack and PCP), Stack, Stems, Stick, Stinkweed, Stoney Weed, Straw, Sugar Weed, Super Grass (marijuana alone or with PCP), Super Pot, Sweet Lucy, Swishers, T, Taima, Takkouri, Tea, Texas Pot, Texas Tea, Tex-Mex, Thai Sticks, 13, 38 (combination with crack cocaine), 3750 (with crack), Thumb, Toke, Torch, Torpedo (with crack), Tray (quantity), Turbo (with crack), Tustin, Twist, Twistum, Unotque, Vega, Viper's Weed, Wac (with PCP), Wacky Weed, Wake & Bake, Water (with other substances), Water-Water (with embalming fluid or PCP), Weed, Weed Tea, Wet (with PCP), Whack (with insect poison), Whack-atabacky, Wheat, White-Haired Lady, Wicky Stick (with crack and PCP), Wollie (with crack), Woolah (with crack), Wooly (with crack or PCP), X, Yeh, Yellow Submarine, Yen Pop, Yeola (with crack), Yerba, Yerba Mala (with PCP), Yerhia, Yesca, Yesco, Zacatecas Purple, Zambi, Zay (with other substances), Zig Zag Man, Zol, Zoom (with PCP)

Type: Hallucinogen. See page 25 Federal Schedule Listing: Schedule I (DEA no. 7360) USA Availability: Illegal to possess Pregnancy Category: None

Uses. As the twenty-first century began, the recreational use of marijuana was mainly for relaxation. The drug is often used in a social setting of mellow geniality. The drug can produce euphoria; in that context recreational usage can leak over into self-medication easing depression. One authority has said that psychological effects are facilitated by the substance, not caused by it. In other words, marijuana may help people achieve states of consciousness that they can learn to achieve in other ways.

When the federal government's drug scheduling system was adopted in the 1970s, marijuana was classified as Schedule I, certifying it as having no medical value. Like many other substances, over the years marijuana had been used for medical purposes that became obsolete as better treatments were discovered. Then, by accident, a glaucoma sufferer discovered that his condition improved when he smoked marijuana, and subsequent scientific tests confirmed that the natural product had a hitherto unknown ability to relieve that devastating eye disease that can cause blindness. Marijuana's long-known antinausea and appetite enhancement qualities also became publicized as a help to patients undergoing the rigors of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and cancer treatments. As researchers began discovering other potential therapeutic actions of marijuana (including treatment of pain, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasticity, ulcerative colitis, and hiccups), medical use became a controversial issue in the 1990s. Among the debated points was whether the natural product had advantages over pharmaceutical dronabinol (containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, which is marijuana's main active ingredient). Instead of swallowing dronabinol capsules, some patients prefer to smoke marijuana because they can fine-tune the THC dosage more easily, puffing just enough instead of taking a capsule that might have more THC than they need. Marijuana smoke may also reduce some of the unwanted actions of THC. Although belladonna and jimson weed cigarettes were used for many years to treat asthma, given what is known about the hazards of both tobacco and polluted air, few medical caregivers today are likely to favor inhaling any kind of smoke. Ancient Greeks reportedly put marijuana seeds on hot stones to release vapor, and modern efforts are devising other ways to produce vapor without igniting the substance, providing aerosol delivery without smoke.

Scientific debate aside, controversy about medical marijuana also had political components. Many powerful individuals and institutions had a vested interest in maintaining marijuana's Schedule I status. Also, many persons saw legalization for medical purposes as the first step toward lifting the ban on recreational use. Passionate claims and counterclaims about marijuana's medical value swirled as this book was written, and doctors could not prescribe marijuana.

Drawbacks. Although calling marijuana a hallucinogen stretches the definition of that type of drug, this book follows the governmental custom of classifying marijuana in that category. Despite that official classification, reports of hallucinations from marijuana are uncommon.

Physical effects can include reddened eyes, accelerated heartbeat, higher body temperature, lower testosterone level, and arousal of senses. In the 1970s reports began appearing from laboratory and animal experiments indicating that marijuana's active ingredient THC harms immune system functions, meaning infections may become more likely. Those experiments frequently involved conditions that are not duplicated in the human body, however, and by the 1990s fears about damage to the human immune system had quieted.

Marijuana is sometimes described as making people less interested in accomplishing tasks in life. Someone jokingly suggested that the substance instead creates insatiable ambition to hold elective office. In reality, marijuana does not make people unambitious. Such persons may be attracted to heavy marijuana use, but probably they were unambitious before using the substance. One research study found that marijuana users who lack ambition tend to be depressed and concluded that depression (not marijuana) was the underlying cause for these persons' diminished motivation. Case studies indicate that marijuana can worsen psychoses, neuroses, and phobias.

In one study a battery of thinking tests given to groups of marijuana users and nonusers found no difference in performance; in another study daily users did worse than occasional users. Long-term memory (the ability to recall many long-known things, such as remembering the year Columbus sailed to America) has been unaffected in experiments. Short-term memory performance (brief ability to recall a few newly known things, such as a list of random words) can decline during intoxication but afterward returns to normal. Some researchers have found marijuana to have no influence on muscular coordination, sensory perception, mental ability, or learning; other researchers have found that marijuana impedes muscular coordination and mental abilities. Driving skill tests have shown similar variation; some studies find that marijuana harms such skill, and some do not. Some research shows marijuana having no effect on users' performance the next day; some research shows impairment 24 hours after use. Such differing results may relate to intoxication levels, to volunteers' experience with handling the substance, and to how long persons have been using it (some researchers believe that long-term use produces long-term effects extending beyond the time of acute intoxication).

The most obvious unwanted physical effects of marijuana are caused or promoted by inhaling smoke, afflictions caused by the manner of dosing rather than by the substance itself. In an animal experiment primates that inhaled marijuana smoke were compared to those in a smoke-free group; the marijuana group developed lung damage that could have led to bronchitis or emphysema, had the smoking continued long enough. Among humans frequent marijuana smoking is known to produce coughing, wheezing, and sputum. Marijuana smoking reduces lung function in ways suggesting that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) might develop if a person smokes four or five marijuana cigarettes daily for 30 years (with a lesser amount needed if a person also smokes tobacco). Certain kinds of lung dam age have been seen in marijuana smokers but not in tobacco smokers. Marijuana smokers typically use big puffs and deep inhalations, held for a long period of time. Such a technique deposits larger quantities of damaging materials in lungs than the ordinary tobacco-smoking technique. Efforts to document lesser-known health risks have been flawed or outright unsuccessful. Reports of physical disease in marijuana users often fail to account for other possible (and perhaps more likely) causes.

Despite conceivable health hazards from marijuana, it seems safe in moderation, no more dangerous than many foods (such as items high in sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol). The natural product is extraordinarily safe from a dosage standpoint.1 No human fatality has been confirmed, although cattle deaths have been reported after consuming bales of dried marijuana.

Abuse factors. Tolerance and dependence have been reported. A marijuana abstinence syndrome is described as including physical and mental tenseness, peevishness, less happiness, and diminished appetite. Such symptoms, however, sound much like the reasons many persons use marijuana. If a chronic headache sufferer reported discomfort when pain relievers were unavailable, that would not be considered evidence of dependence on and withdrawal from pain relievers. Self-administration of a drug by laboratory animals is a traditional sign of addictive potential, but researchers have mixed success in getting animals to self-administer THC.

Drug interactions. Not enough scientific information to report, although it is reasonable to assume interactions could be similar to those occurring with dronabinol.

Cancer. Laboratory tests indicate that marijuana smoke can cause cancer. Oral and lung cancer is reported among marijuana users, although we must remember that typical users also smoke tobacco. One study did find that marijuana, even when tobacco use is accounted for, increases chances of getting head and neck cancer. One of the more impressive studies of marijuana's cancer-causing potential involved medical records of 64,888 persons and discovered that people who used marijuana, whether frequently or infrequently, were in general no more likely to get cancer than anyone else. That study did find evidence, however, that marijuana promotes prostate and cervical cancer. Researchers have found that children are more likely to develop acute non-lymphocytic leukemia if their mothers used marijuana during pregnancy. This is a rare disease; in a population of 1 million children, about 5 will have the affliction. The disease is also associated with pesticide exposure, and investigators are uncertain whether pesticide contamination of marijuana is a more important factor than marijuana itself.

Chromosome damage can indicate a potential for development of cancer. Some laboratory and animal experiments indicate marijuana causes chromosome damage, but a study found human chromosome abnormalities to be about the same in moderate users of marijuana and nonusers. Researchers conducting one human study sent the same samples to two laboratories, but neither lab was able to find chromosome damage attributable to marijuana.

Pregnancy. Normally we think of marijuana as a recreational substance, but some women use it to ease discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth. Marijuana chemicals pass from a pregnant woman into the fetus. Almost all re search finds no evidence that marijuana causes human birth defects. A study examining infants of adolescent mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy noted some "minor" birth defects, but even these researchers did not conclude that marijuana was necessarily the cause. Studies of newborns' birth-weights have been inconclusive about an impact from prenatal marijuana exposure. No major effect on muscular coordination and balance turned up in an examination of preschool children having prenatal marijuana exposure, but investigators cautioned that the tests lacked measures of subtle skills. Behavior problems have been reported among children who had prenatal marijuana exposure, but we do not know whether those problems were caused by marijuana or by years of exposure to a particular type of parent. Investigators watching development of children up to age 5 found no difference attributable to maternal marijuana use during pregnancy; differences existed but were ascribed to home environment and schooling. Examination of reading and language abilities in children aged 9 to 12 years found no significant impact from prenatal marijuana exposure. Some researchers believe they have found problems caused by prenatal marijuana, but most research is consistent with marijuana being benign.

Marijuana's THC passes into human milk, and researchers report deficient development of muscle and limb coordination among infants nursed on such milk. One case report noted the THC level in milk was eight times higher than the mother's blood level.

Additional information. Marijuana and hemp come from different portions of the same plant, Cannabis sativa. Leaves, flowers, and resin are the illegal drug marijuana; the resin is also called hashish. Stalks and seed (if processed so it will not germinate) are the legal commercial product hemp. The terms hemp and marijuana are sometimes used interchangeably, but such use is incorrect. After marijuana was outlawed in the 1930s, hemp raising continued to thrive because law enforcement authorities of the era were familiar with the industry and understood that crops were not entering the illegal drug market even though the plants had leaves and flowers and resin. During World War II the federal government subsidized hemp farming to replace natural fiber supplies cut off by the war. In the 1950s subsidies finally stopped, and the American hemp industry also stopped because it could no longer make money at the unsubsidized world market price.

Some food products contain hemp components and can cause false positives for marijuana in urine drug screen tests. Hemp lotions and creams rubbed on the skin produce marijuana chemicals in urine, but not enough to cause false positives in a drug screen.

"Locoweed" and "stinkweed" are nicknames for both jimson weed and marijuana, but the substances are different.

Additional scientific information may be found in:

Carlson, B.R., and W.H. Edwards. "Human Values and Marijuana Use." International

Journal of the Addictions 25 (1990): 1393-401. Fried, P., et al. "Current and Former Marijuana Use: Preliminary Findings of a Longitudinal Study of Effects on IQ in Young Adults." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 166 (2002): 887-91.

Gruber, A.J., H.G. Pope, and P. Oliva. "Very Long-Term Users of Marijuana in the

United States: A Pilot Study." Substance Use and Misuse 32 (1997): 249-64. Hendin, H., et al. "The Functions of Marijuana Abuse for Adolescents." American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 8, no. 4 (1981-1982): 441-56. Iversen, L. "Marijuana: The Myths Are Hazardous to Your Health." Cerebrum 1, no. 2 (1999): 37-49.

Labouvie, E.W. "Alcohol and Marijuana Use in Relation to Adolescent Stress." International Journal of the Addictions 21 (1986): 333-45. Reilly, D. "Long-Term Cannabis Use: Characteristics of Users in an Australian Rural

Area." Addiction 93 (1998): 837-46. Sidney, S., et al. "Marijuana Use and Mortality." American Journal of Public Health 87 (1997): 585-90.

Solomon, D., ed. The Marihuana Papers. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966. Taylor, D.R., et al. "A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Tobacco and Cannabis

Exposure on Lung Function in Young Adults." Addiction 97 (2002): 1055-61. Thompson, K.M. "Marijuana Use among Adolescents: Trends, Patterns, and Influences." Minerva Pediatrica 53 (2001): 313-23. U.S. Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. Marihuana, a Signal of Misunderstanding. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1972. Von Sydow, K., et al. "The Natural Course of Cannabis Use, Abuse and Dependence over Four Years: A Longitudinal Community Study of Adolescents and Young Adults." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 64 (2001): 347-61.


1. Decades of studies indicating marijuana's relative safety when used in moderation include Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence, Cannabis (Wooten Report) (London: HMSO, 1968); J. Brandt and L.F. Doyle, "Concept Attainment, Tracking, and Shifting in Adolescent Polydrug Abusers," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 171 (1938): 559; E.M. Brecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports, Licit and Illicit Drugs: The Consumers Union Report on Narcotics, Stimulants, Depressants, Inhalants, Hallucinogens, and Marijuana—Including Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972), 395; N.Q. Brill and R.L. Christie, "Marihuana Use and Psychosocial Adaptation: Follow-up Study of a Collegiate Population," Archives of General Psychiatry 31 (1974): 713; Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (Le Dain Commission), Interim Report (Toronto, Canada: Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, 1970); C.M. Culver and F.W. King, "Neuropsychological Assessment of Undergraduate Marihuana and LSD Users," Archives of General Psychiatry 32 (1974): 707; E. Goode, Drugs in American Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 56, 59 n. 1; Jaffe, "Drug Addiction and Abuse," in L.S. Goodman and A. Gilman, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 7th ed. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1955), 560; The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (Silver Spring, MD: Jefferson Press, 1969) (reprint of summary volume); T.H. Mikuriya, "Historical Aspects of Cannabis Sativa in Western Medicine," New Physician 18 (1969): 905; J.B. Murray, "Marijuana's Effects on Human Cognitive Functions, Psychomotor Functions, and Personality," Journal of General Psychology 113 (1986): 29, 40-41; National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding (Washington, DC: GPO, 1972) (SuDocs Y3.M33/2:2MM33, plus appendix volumes); H.G. Pope, Jr., A.J. Gruber, and D. Yurgelun-Todd, "Residual Neuropsychologic Effects of Cannabis," Current Psychiatry Reports 3 (2001): 507-12; H.G. Pope, Jr., et al., "Neuropsychological Performance in Long-Term Cannabis Users," Archives of General Psychiatry 58 (2001): 909-15; J.F. Siler, et al., "Mariajuana Smoking in Panama," Military Surgeon 73 (1933): 269-80; C. Stark-Adamec, R.E. Adamec, and R.O. Phil, "Experimenter Effects in Marihuana Research: A Note of Caution," Psycho logical Reports 51 (1982): 203; D. Solomon, ed., The Marihuana Papers (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966) (including the classic LaGuardia Committee Report); Swiss Federal Commission for Drug Issues (EKDF), Cannabis Report (1999); G. Teichner, et al., "The Relationship of Neuropsychological Functioning to Measures of Substance Use in an Adolescent Drug Abusing Sample," International Journal of Neuroscience 104 (2000):113-24; A.S. Trebach, The Great Drug War and Radical Proposals That Could Make America Safe Again (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), 81; J.T. Ungerleider and T. Andrysiak, "Bias and the Cannabis Researcher," Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 21 (1981): 153 S-85 S; United Kingdom House of Commons, Cannabis, Library Research Paper 00/74 (2000); A. Weil, The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness, Rev. ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986), 47; A. Weil, N.E. Zinberg, and J.M. Nelsen, "Clinical and Psychological Effects of Marihuana in Man," Science 162 (1968): 1234-42; R.C. Wert and M.L. Raulin, "The Chronic Cerebral Effects of Cannabis Use. I. Methodological Issues and Neurological Findings," International Journal of the Addictions 21 (1986): 602-28; R.C. Wert and M.L. Raulin, "The Chronic Cerebral Effects of Cannabis Use. II. Psychological Findings and Conclusions," International Journal of the Addictions 21 (1986): 629-42.

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