Cannabis (Marijuana, Pot, Dope, Mary Jane)

Illegal Drugs: Information About Cannabis (Marijuana)

Street names: Pot, Grass, Weed, Dope, Herb, Buddha, Reefer, Ganja, Skunk, Sticky, Mary Jane, Chronic, Cheeba, Buds, Green

Classification: Cannabis is a Schedule I substance in the US under the controlled substances act.

General Information

Cannabis is a bushy plant with sticky, dense flowering tops (buds) that contain the psychoactive chemical THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. These buds are generally dried and smoked or eaten in special food preparations.

Cannabis is a psychedelic drug with depressant qualities. It is known for its recognizable leaves and distinct, skunky smell. Cannabis is the most widely used recreational drug in the world, though varieties with low THC content are used for industrial purposes and known as “hemp.”

Marijuana Drug Crimes

Varieties of Cannabis

There are three varieties of cannabis – cannabis indica, cannabis sativa, and cannabis ruderalis.

Ruderalis has a lower THC content than the other two and thus has little popularity amongst the recreational crowd. But its plants are easier to grow and hardier that its more delicate indica and sativa counterparts, and strains are sometimes crossbred with ruderalis varieties to make them easier to grow.

Cannabis is known to produce feelings of relaxtion, euphoria, and changes in perception. It is a sensory enhancer, improving tactile sensations, sight, smells, sounds, and especially tastes.

Cannabis indica has a heavier, more sedating, “stony” feeling while cannabis sativa will produce a more stimulating, clear-headed, and uplifting feeling.

Cannabis sativa plants will be taller and have lighter, thinner, narrower leaves than indica plants. Most strains of cannabis today are a hybrid of various indica and sativa varieties, and are referred to by the names given to the specific plants by their respective growers (e.g. OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, etc.)

How Marijuana Is Smoked

Cannabis is most often ground up, rolled in cigarette papers, and smoked. This is called a “joint” or “doobie” and once finished will leave a small, charred piece of paper that was used as a crutch in the joint to hold. This is called a ‘roach’ and is typically discarded. Other methods of smoking include pipes and water pipes, or bongs, which filter the smoke through water before it reaches the lungs. This makes the smoke cooler and easier to inhale, but glass bongs are very expensive and easily breakable. Some cannabis users have a vaporizer that heats the cannabis at a low temperature, vaporizing the THC for inhalation but never setting the plant on fire. This allows users to inhale THC vapor without harmful combustion products like tar, soot, and ash, or other carcinogens and pollutants in the smoke. Smoking produces effects almost immediately, but their duration is much shorter than if the cannabis eaten.

How Marijuana Is Ingested

Cannabis can be cooked into vegetable oils and butters and mixed into baked goods and other assorted edibles. The most common forms will have high sugar content and other flavors to mask the taste of the cannabis content. Eating cannabis takes a much longer time to produce effects than smoking (between 30 minutes and 2 hours as compared to instantly) but ingesting a small amount can go a long way in terms of potency and duration, since the THC-containing product slowly digests in the body. Users who are eating cannabis should take care not to consume too high of a dose or double the dose after they think they haven’t felt anything. This can lead to ingesting far too much cannabis and a bad time for all parties involved. Oftentimes people cook with the leaves or trimmings of the plants and save the buds for smoking.

Effects of Using Cannabis

Those under the influence of cannabis should not drive, especially if they have also ingested alcohol, as the combination may cause motor impairment that is far worse than what would occur if only a single substance had been consumed.

The effects of cannabis include mood lift, euphoria, creativity, pain relief, increased giggling and laughing (even when completing boring tasks), sensory enhancement, changes in the mind/body feel and connection, and increased appreciation for music. Users may also have increased appetite (the ‘munchies’), slowness in actions or lethargy, and fatigue. Clear physical signs of cannabis use include bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, and often coughing or respiratory irritation. Some users report side effects of fatigue, anxiety, panic, confusion, dizziness, light-headedness, clumsiness, racing thoughts, poor concentration, headache, and nausea (though for many users cannabis is a treatment for nausea).

Side effects tend to increase linearly with dosage. These side effects are sometimes reported as continuing on into a hangover stage of the drug and include fatigue, difficulty with memory and recall, joint stiffness, dry mouth, and tired or itchy eyes. At high doses, reports of the visual effects of cannabis are more common, as are time dilation or compression, though nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis or died from cannabis use alone. The effects of cannabis vary greatly from user to user – some find it helps them sleep and calms their worries while others are unable to sleep after smoking and experience racing thoughts and paranoia. The effects are highly variable and dependent on the strain, setting, and individual.

Cannabis Abuse, Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

Cannabis is not physically addictive, but is can be psychologically habit forming and difficult to quit. People that use cannabis daily report over time a decrease in euphoria and other positive aspects of use with increased feelings of anxiety and discomfort. In daily or chronic users, mild-withdrawal symptoms have been observed such as insomnia, anxiety, decreased appetite, and irritability lasting from a single week to six weeks. It also may hurt social functioning in terms of family life, academic success, and employment. Because cannabis increases heart rate and affects activity in the hippocampus, there are prospects that heavy use may cause heart problems or brain damage. But the only confirmed long-term health risks of chronic cannabis use relate to inhaling smoke on a frequent basis and holding it in the lungs for lengthy periods of time.

Charged With a Marijuana Drug Crime? Let Our New Jersey Drug Defense Attorneys Help You

While around 5-10% of people that try cannabis will become daily users, the vast majority of users quit before reaching the age of thirty, and few remain after the age of 40.

If you have been charged with possession, growing, distribution, or trafficking of marijuana you are facing serious drug charges. Our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers will work hard to reduce the charges against you, or, if you are innocent, to have the charges dismissed.

For a free initial consultation contact an experienced opium drug crimes defense lawyer today.