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Alexander Encinar

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. After a period of decline in the last decade, its use has been increasing among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks that may be associated with increased public debate over the drug’s legal status. Although the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I substance (having no medicinal uses and high risk for abuse), two states have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, and 21 states have passed laws allowing its use as a treatment for certain medical conditions

What is it?Marijuana is a mixture of the dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa (the hemp plant). The mixture can be green, brown, or gray. Stronger forms of the drug include sinsemilla, hashish, and hash oil.Of the approximately 400 chemicals in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, is responsible for many of the drug’s mind-altering effects. It’s this chemical that changes how the brain works, distorting how the mind perceives the world.

The public use of marijuana in the past decade

THC's chemical structure is similar to the brain chemical anandamide. Similarity in structure allows drugs to be recognized by the body and to alter normal brain communication.

By: NCPIC - National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre


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