Marijuana: Not all that it’s cracked up to be

Marijuana is a mix of dried flowers, stems, seeds and leaves. It is derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. This plant can be smoked and ingested. It is a psychoactive drug, which is a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood or consciousness.

According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, over 11% of 8th graders and 35% of 12th graders have tried marijuana in the past year.

Despite becoming legalized/decriminalized in many states, there are still many risks involved with its use.

Marijuana contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When it’s smoked, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. Once it reaches the brain, THC attaches to neurons with specific kinds of receptors called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence thinking, concentration, pleasure, memory, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

Long term effects of Marijuana include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Frequent respiratory illnesses
  • Lung infections
  • Heart damage
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among adolescents. Persons with a family history of schizophrenia have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia at an earlier age.


  • If you, or someone you know, have a problem talk to a trusted adult. Seek out local substance abuse treatment centers in your area for further help. A physician or a counselor should be able to assist you in finding treatment centers.
  • Call Centerstone at 1-888-291-4357 (HELP) to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
  • If you feel like you need immediate help, please call 1-800-681-7444 for 24-hour Crisis Services.