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Marijuana (THC Cannabis)

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Marijuana, which comes from the plant Cannabis, and contains the drug THC, is the third most popular recreational drug, behind only tobacco and alcohol. It is the #1 most popular illegal drug in America, although laws regarding its legal status are in rapid transition.  An estimated one-third of Americans have used Marijuana at some point in their lives.

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About Marijuana (THC Cannabis)

Marijuana the Drug

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Marijuana is the shredded flower and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, which is colored either gray or green, and contains psychoactive compounds. Used recreationally as well as medicinally across the world, the drug has a marked effect on mood, appetite and response time. In large doses, depth perception can be notably impaired, and hallucinations are possible. There are also long term effects on the brain depending on the level of usage.

Street names or slang terms for marijuana number over 200. However, the most common street names include the following:
  • Grass
  • Weed
  • Herb
  • Pot
  • Chronic
  • Skunk
  • Afghani #1
  • Gangster
  • Fruity juice
  • Northern lights
  • Bubble gum
  • Mary Jane
  • Hash
  • Ganja
  • Boom
  • Widow
Marijuana is most often ingested via smoking. There are three main ways to smoke Marijuana they include smoking it in a pipe or water-pipe, which is referred to as a bong, placing the drug in a emptied cigar casing, which is referred to as a blunt, or rolling the drug into a cigarette, which is referred to as a joint. Of course, Marijuana is sometimes baked into food or mixed into tea as well.

Intended Effects and Side Effects of Marijuana

Individuals smoke Marijuana to elevate mood and promote relaxation, among other things. Negative side effects include:
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Impaired memory
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Learning problems
  • Lack of focus and attention
  • Poor driving skills
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Dry mouth
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Loss of coordination

Medical uses of Marijuana

Many have tried to legalize Marijuana to treat pain and nausea associated with AIDS/HIV, cancer, glaucoma, and other medical conditions. There are some states that have legalized Marijuana use with or without a prescription.  However, the FDA has withheld approval thus far, and there is plenty of people who would argue that the continued federal illegality of weed is because of scientific concerns, medical reasons, or pure politics. While recreational use is legal in only a handful of states, medical marijuana can be prescribed in over 65% of states in the US.

Dangers

The dangers associated with Marijuana involve its long-term use particularity for its effects on the brain. For individuals who abuse the drug for an extended period of time, effects on the brain including long-term concentration problems and memory issues are noted. In addition, long-term Marijuana use can lead to lung issues similar to what is seen with tobacco use and severe problems such as mental illness, paranoia and psychosis.

Overdose

It is virtually impossible to die from an overdose of Marijuana. However, large amounts of the drug can alter judgment and cause extreme panic attacks or paranoia. These effects can lead to a person injuring themselves or others. Therefore, although the drug itself is not fatal, the effects of the drug can have fatal consequences.

Drug testing for Marijuana

Drug Tests for Marijuana unlike alcohol, which passes relatively quickly from one's system as it is steadily metabolized by the liver, the chemical compounds in marijuana are fat-soluble, so they can remain stored in one's fat tissue for months, depending on how heavily the individual to be tested uses the drug. THC, the drug's most active and well-known compound, is usually detectable in urine for up to five to 10 days for occasional users and up to a month for heavy users. In hair follicle tests, the drug's compounds may show up for up to 90 days after one's last use.

Since Marijuana use is illegal in most states, employers can test for it.  And many jobs are governed by federal law, such as DOT covered employees like truckers, so employers can test for marijuana even in states where it’s use is legal (and often are required to test, as is the case with DOT).  Employers can administer pre-employment and random urine or hair follicle drug tests from Health Street in order to ensure their working environment is drug free. Because marijuana can negatively impact an individual's ability to reason, and alters the sense of reality, it can be dangerous in the workplace, especially when used by people in safety-sensitive job functions.

Families of marijuana users are often very concerned about the impact of heavy use, especially in teens and young adults. Furthermore, the potential for marijuana to be a gateway drug, opening up the path to harder street drugs like cocaine or heroin, is enough for many parents and loved ones to be alarmed by marijuana usage in teens and college students. Health Street offers numerous urine drug tests and hair drug tests which can detect marijuana usage for up to approximately 90 days.

Urine Drug Tests

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Health Street offers numerous urine drug tests which detect marijuana use in the recent past.

Hair Drug Tests

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Health Street offers a variety of hair follicle drug tests which detect marijuana over a longer period of time (90 days).