Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Marijuana.

Uncle smokes weed with 2 and 5 year old nephews.

What you need to know to talk with your teen about marijuana
The call to legalize all illicit drugs
Myths & Facts About Marijuana
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in the System?
Marijuana: Facts for Teens
How Can I Tell If My Child Has Been Using Marijuana?
At What Age Do Children Generally Start Smoking Pot?
Marijuana sold in U.S. stronger than ever
U.S. Report Criticizes Canada for Marijuana Production
Long-Term Marijuana Use May Fog Memory
Long-term pot smokers find memories hazy
Marijuana puts kids at risk
In 'Bong Hits' Dissent, Stevens Compares Drug War to Prohibition
Firm Seeks OK for Cannabis-Based MS Drug
Scans show how cannabis affects brain
Richardson to legalize medical marijuana
7 Myths About Marijuana Every Parent Needs to Clarify With Their Kids
Cannabis & the Brain
Marijuana Laws by State

I'll never smoke weed with willie again


What are the street names/slang terms?

Bud, Blunt, Chronic, Dope, Ganja, Grass, Green, Hash, Herb, Joint, Loud, Mary Jane, MJ, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Trees, Weed

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, the most often used illegal drug in this country, is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana, also present in other forms of cannabis, is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the roughly 400 chemicals found in the cannabis plant, THC affects the brain the most.

What does it look like?

Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).

How is it used?

Many users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a “joint.” Marijuana can also be smoked in a pipe or water pipe (called a “bong”) or vaporized using a “vape” pen. A single intake of smoke from a joint or pipe is called a hit. Marijuana can also be mixed into food or brewed as tea and ingested. It has also appeared in cigars called “blunts.”

In states where marijuana has become legalized, more and more marijuana “edibles” are seen in retail establishments where marijuana is sold, including baked goods and candy that closely or even exactly resemble well-known foods (example: brownies, chocolate, cookies, pizza or gummy bears). It may also come in a “wax” form that resembles lip balm that can be eaten or smoked.

What are its short-term effects?

Short-term effects of marijuana include disrupted learning and memory, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, and anxiety. These effects are even greater when other drugs (including alcohol) are mixed with weed. A user may also experience dry mouth.

What are its long-term effects?

Marijuana increases the risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, increases risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. May increase risk of anxiety, depression and a series of attitude and personality changes, known as “amotivational syndrome.” This syndrome is characterized by a diminished ability to carry out long-term plans, a sense of apathy, decreased attention to appearance and behavior, and decreased ability to concentrate for long periods of time. These changes can also include poor performance in school. Marijuana, just like any other drug, can lead to addiction. It affects the brain’s reward system in the same way as all other drugs of addiction – and the likelihood of addiction increases considerably for those who start young.

What is its federal classification?

Schedule I

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

What you need to know to talk with your teen about marijuana

Between marijuana legalization, the normalization in pop culture and new ways of using (edibles, vaporizers, concentrates), it’s becoming more complicated for parents to talk to their teens.

“Marijuana is a plant. It’s natural. How harmful could it be?”

“Would you rather I drink alcohol? Weed is so much safer.”

“But you smoked weed when you were younger.”

So where do you start? And what should you say? The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is here to help.

  • Inside the Marijuana Talk Kit, you will find:
  • Facts about marijuana
  • Why weed is still risky for teens
  • Ways to talk with your teen about marijuana
  • What you should - and shouldn't say - when talking with your teen
  • How to respond to your teen’s questions and arguments
  • Resources to help

The Marijuana Talk Kit will help you have meaningful, productive conversations with your teen.

To download your free copy, click here.


Myths & Facts About Marijuana

Do you know the facts about marijuana? Here are some common myths.

MYTH: Marijuana is harmless.

FACT: Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today and is more potent than ever. Marijuana use can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning, and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's development. Getting high also impairs judgment, which can lead to risky decision making on issues like sex, criminal activity, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teens who use drugs are five times more likely to have sex than teens who do not use drugs. Getting high also contributes to general apathy, irresponsible behavior, and risky choices.

MYTH: You can't get addicted to marijuana.

FACT: Don’t be fooled by popular beliefs. Kids can get hooked on pot. Research shows that marijuana use can lead to addiction. Each year, more kids enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.

MYTH: There's not much parents can do to stop their kids from "experimenting" with marijuana.

FACT: Most parents are surprised to learn that they are the most powerful influence on their children when it comes to drugs. But, it's true, so this message needs to start with parents. Kids need to hear how risky marijuana use can be. They need to know how damaging it can be to their lives. And they need to begin by listening to someone they trust. By staying involved, knowing what their kids are doing, and setting limits with clear rules and consequences, parents can keep their kids drug-free.

Tell Your Kids to Say No...Even if You Didn't

MYTH: There are no long-term consequences to marijuana use.

FACT: Research shows that kids who smoke marijuana engage in risky behavior that can jeopardize their futures, like having sex, getting in trouble with the law, or losing scholarship money. Marijuana can also hurt academic achievement and puts kids at risk for depression and anxiety.

MYTH: Marijuana isn't as popular as other drugs like ecstasy among teens today.

FACT: Kids use marijuana far more than any other illicit drug. Among kids who use drugs, 60 percent use only marijuana.

MYTH: Young kids won't be exposed to marijuana.

FACT: Not only are they exposed to marijuana, they are using it. Between 1991 and 2001, the number of 8th graders who used marijuana doubled from one in 10 to one in five.

MYTH: Parents who experimented with marijuana in their youth would be hypocrites if they told their kids not to try it.

FACT: Parents need to make their own decisions about whether to talk to their children about their own drug use. But parents can tell their kids that much more is known today about the serious health and social consequences of using marijuana.

Marijuana: Facts for Teens

Letter to Teens

Did you know that teen marijuana use has dropped dramatically since the late 1990s? So, if you were thinking everyone smokes marijuana, they don’t. Statistics show that about 7 percent, or roughly 1 in 14 teens, report using marijuana in the past month (SAMHSA, 2014). However, many teens do not consider marijuana to be a harmful drug. Some believe marijuana cannot be harmful because it is "natural." But not all natural plants are good for you—take tobacco, for example.

One serious risk is addiction. In 2013, around 4.2 million people 12 and older had a marijuana abuse or addiction problem (SAMHSA, 2014). Marijuana is not as harmless as you may think. Look inside this booklet to find out more.

Our goal is to give you the straight facts so you can make smart choices and be your best self—without drugs. And we hope you will continue the conversation and share this information with your friends, parents, teachers, and others.

Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Need Treatment?

You can find treatment programs through the website provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). You can also call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral hotline at 1-800-662-HELP. Treatment can help you, a friend, or someone you love get back to the person you or they once were.

How Can I Tell If My Child Has Been Using Marijuana?

Naturally, most parents would prefer not to find out that their children are smoking marijuana while they are young.

Even if you have a tolerant attitude toward marijuana or perhaps smoke it—or used to smoke it—yourself, you probably would not want your young children to use it due to the damage it can do to their young, developing brains.

Or, you may be like many parents and think that your child will not get involved with drugs or alcohol, because you have discussed the dangers with them, and besides, smoking weed is something that older children do, not your child.

Kids Are Smoking at Earlier Ages These Days

One problem is children today are beginning to smoke marijuana very early in life. National surveys may indicate that the average age that children first smoke weed is 16, but that means many of them started much earlier for the average to be age 16.

In fact, one survey of children in treatment for substance abuse found that 14 percent of them first smoked marijuana before age 13—before they were teenagers.

Marijuana Is More Available Today

Another problem is availability. Research has found that availability plays a large role in youngsters becoming involved with substance abuse whether it is alcohol, inhalants, prescription drugs, or marijuana.

Make no mistake about it, marijuana is becoming more and more available to young children, even in elementary and middle school. In response to surveys, a growing percentage of teens report that they know someone who sells drugs or know where they can buy drugs.

In fact, some teens report they can get marijuana easier than they can alcohol.

Legalization Has Changed Attitudes

The growth of the marijuana legalization movement in the United States—for both medical and recreational use—has had an effect on how children perceive the use of marijuana. Fewer teens report seeing it as harmful or dangerous.

And finally, if you are a parent who does smoke marijuana, or even if you merely express approval of the use of weed around your children, they are much more likely to smoke it themselves compared with children whose parents disapprove of the drug.

Given all of these factors, you might want to rethink whether or not your child might be involved in marijuana use, especially if they have shown any of the signs outlined below.

How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Been Using Marijuana?

If someone is actually high on marijuana, there may be some visible signs that they are under the influence:

  • They may seem unsteady on their feet or appear dizzy
  • They could have bloodshot eyes
  • They might laugh inappropriately or seem silly for no reason
  • They may have difficulty remembering something that just happened
  • As the effects wear off, they may become sleepy

Evidence of Smoking Behavior

Even if they are not visibly high, there are some signs you can look for that linger after they have been smoking:

  • The smell. The odor will linger and cling to their clothes
  • Drug paraphernalia such as rolling papers or pipes
  • A sudden uncharacteristic use of eye drops
  • The use of incense or room deodorizers
  • Pro-drug slogans on t-shirts or posters
  • Evidence of smoking, such as lighters, ashes

Sudden Behavioral Changes

Although these behavioral changes could be related to other typical teenage issues, they also could indicate marijuana use:

  • Tiredness
  • Hostility or mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Declining attention to hygiene, grooming
  • Deteriorating relationships

Changes in Interests

These signs could also indicate other teenage-related problems, they also could be prompted by the use of marijuana:

  • A change in friends or peer group
  • Declining grades in school
  • Increased absenteeism or truancy
  • Changes in eating habits
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in sports or other activities
  • Behavioral problems at school
  • Brushes with the law

If you suspect that your child has been using marijuana, you may want to just sit down and talk to them about it. If your child is using marijuana, chances are he or she will deny it and blame any evidence you found on someone else.

But, carefully watch their reaction to your conversation with them. If they over-react, that too could be an indication of their involvement with marijuana or other drugs.

How about drug testing your child? There are home drug tests available that parents can use to test their children, but be aware that there are some drawbacks when parents decide to test their kids.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know." Publications March 2014

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "If You Catch Your Teen Smoking Pot." Resources 2016

At What Age Do Children Generally Start Smoking Pot?

There are surveys that indicate that the average age that children begin to smoke marijuana is age 16. But, that is the "average" age. That means there are a lot of children out there who begin long before age 16.

The latest Monitoring the Future figures show that in 2014, an estimated 15.6% of 8th graders had smoked marijuana or hashish at least once in their lifetimes, while 11.7% had smoked in the past year, and 6.5% had smoked in the past month.

One Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey of people who were admitted for drug and alcohol treatment found that 14% began using drugs before age 13, in their preteen years.

Use More Than Doubles By 10th Grade

By the time they reach the 10th grade, the number of lifetime smokers goes to 33.7%, while past year smokers rise to 27.3% and past month smokers include 16.6%

Therefore, between the 8th grade and the 10th grade, the number of children in your child's school who are smoking pot more than doubles.

The Influence of Others

That is significant because the main reason that teens begin to smoke marijuana is because of the influence of other people around them. Teens who have siblings or friends who do drugs are much more likely to try them themselves than adolescents who do not have drug-using friends.

But, the influence that others have on teen substance abuse is not limited to their peers in school.

Teens who have parents who drink, smoke cigarettes or smoke marijuana are also more likely to try it themselves.

Availability Is a Key Factor

Availability is also a factor in whether or not kids begin smoking marijuana at a early age. Children who live in neighborhoods where drugs are sold openly, or who go to schools where they have peers who sell drugs are significantly more likely to begin smoking weed at an early age.

The same study found that if teens merely perceive that their peers approve of drug use they will be more likely to use drugs themselves at an early age, because that perception tends to "normalize" illicit drug use.

Reasons Why Kids Use Drugs

There are other reasons that children begin early use of marijuana. In his book "Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do if You Can’t," Dr. Neil I. Bernstein lists these reasons why kids try drugs and alcohol:

  • Other people
  • Popular media
  • Escape and self-medication
  • Boredom
  • Rebellion
  • Instant gratification
  • Lack of confidence
  • Misinformation

Early-Onset Drug Use Has Consequences

Experts agree - even some marijuana legalization proponents - that the later teens begin using marijuana the better, because their brains are still developing up until about age 25. The earlier kids begin to smoke pot the more likely they are to experience problems.

A Duke University study found that children who smoke marijuana at least weekly before age 18 displayed lasting harm to their intelligence, attention, and memory compared with those who began using marijuana after age 18.

The Duke study also found that quitting marijuana use later did not reverse the cognitive damaged caused by regular marijuana use before age 18.


Duke University. "Adolescent Pot Use Leaves Lasting Mental Deficits." Duke Today August 2012

Duncan, DT et al. "Perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among U.S. high school seniors." Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy September 2014.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs." Trends & Statistics 2014

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "Top 8 Reasons why Teens Try Alcohol and Drugs." Resources Accessed June 2015

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in the System?

Marijuana Is Rapidly Metabolized, But Metabolites Can Linger

The effects of smoking marijuana fade quickly, but the drug, known affectionately as "pot" or "weed," can be detected in the body for weeks and sometimes longer. How long it remains in the system depends on how often or how much marijuana the user has been smoking.

How Marijuana Is Metabolized

The active ingredient in marijuana - Tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC or simply THC - enters the body's bloodstream rapidly after smoking marijuana.

If marijuana is ingested, rather than smoked, it takes longer to be absorbed into the blood, usually from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.

But THC is detectable in the blood for a short time, usually a few hours, because it is rapidly metabolized into molecules known as metabolites. At least 80 different metabolites are formed from THC. These metabolites are stored in body fat and are gradually eliminated from the body through feces and urine.

Limitations of Drug Tests

Because marijuana stays in the bloodstream for a short time, blood tests for marijuana are usually not used, except in the case of automobile accidents and some roadside sobriety checkpoints. Blood or saliva tests can show current intoxication. However, unlike blood alcohol concentration tests, they do not indicate a level of intoxication or impairment.

On the other hand, urine tests for marijuana metabolites can only show recent marijuana use, not intoxication or impairment, because of the time required between smoking and the metabolites being eliminated in the urine.

However, because many employers have a zero tolerance for drug use, most workplaces use urine tests for any recent use of drugs.

How Long Can Marijuana Be Detected?

Some THC metabolites have an elimination half-life of 20 hours. However, some are stored in body fat and have an elimination half-life of 10 to 13 days.

Most researchers agree that urine tests for marijuana can detect the drug in the body for up to 13 days.

However, there is anecdotal evidence that the length of time that marijuana remains in the body is affected by how often the person smokes, how much he smokes and how long he has been smoking. Regular smokers have reported positive drug test results after 45 days since last use and heavy smokers have reported positive tests 90 days after quitting.

How Effective Are Marijuana Urine Tests?

Although false positives are common for other substances, they are rare for marijuana due to the sophisticated tests of today. The laboratory first screens the sample with an immunoassay test, known as the EMIT or RIA. If positive results are returned, the sample is again screened with a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS), which is much more accurate. That's why false positives are rare.

No known substances would cause a marijuana urine test to return a false positive. At one time, ibuprofen (sold over-the-counter as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) would cause false marijuana positives.

But today's tests have been adjusted to eliminate that problem.

Can You Fool the Test?

Although many tips are published on websites and magazines of marijuana decriminalization advocates on how to beat a marijuana drug test, most have proven to be urban legends. Some techniques include:

Washing Yourself Out - This entails drinking a lot of water or liquids and urinating several times before the test, then taking vitamin B-2 to add color back to the urine. Although this may lower the percentage of THC found in the urine by diluting it, it will not totally eliminate THC metabolites.

Using Drug Screening Agents - Some companies sell various substances and herbal teas that are allegedly capable of "cleaning" the body's system of traces of marijuana. There is little evidence that any of them actually work. The catch is most of them have to be used over an extended period of time, during which the body will naturally eliminate THC from the system anyway.

Tampering With the Test - This involves adding something to the urine to contaminate the sample. There are tales of using Visine, bleach, salt or detergent to urine, but these items are easily detected by the lab. Several commercial products are used as urine test adulterants, but none are 100% foolproof. And all of them can be detected by the laboratory if a separate test is run for them.

The Bottom Line

If you are required to take a urine test on short notice for employment or other purposes and you have recently smoked marijuana, you are probably going to fail the test. This is particularly true if you are a regular or heavy pot smoker.

Employees that abuse alcohol and drug pose serious problems for today's employers. Many are taking steps to develop a workplace drug policy that includes random drug testing for current employees and routine testing for all new job applicants.

The only reliable way of passing the test is to stop smoking marijuana.

Take the Marijuana Screening Quiz

Do you experience withdrawals when you quit smoking weed?

Take the Marijuana Withdrawal Symptom Quiz


Drew, M., et al, "The Metabolism of Marijuana." Achieve Solutions 1999.

National Institute on Drug Abuse "Marijuana: Facts for Teens." Revised March 2008.

National Institutes of Health "Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana." February 1997.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "Cannabis / Marijuana" Accessed November 2008.

NORML "The ABCs of Marijuana and Drug Testing." Apr 01, 2004.


U.S. Report Criticizes Canada for Marijuana Production

The Bush administration's annual report on international drug trafficking says that Canada has not taken adequate steps to shut down marijuana grow operations across the border.

In 'Bong Hits' Dissent, Stevens Compares Drug War to Prohibition

The U.S. Supreme Court's oldest member alluded to the nation's experience with alcohol Prohibition in dissenting from the high court's recent ruling in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" free-speech case.

The Washington Post reported June 27 that Justice John Paul Stevens, 87, drew on his own memories of Prohibition to argue against restricting the rights of high-school students to advocate for drug legalization. Stevens compared the current ban on marijuana use to Prohibition's ban on alcohol use.

"[T]he current dominant opinion supporting the war on drugs in general, and our anti-marijuana laws in particular, is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student," said Stevens. "While alcoholic beverages are now regarded as ordinary articles of commerce, their use was then condemned with the same moral fervor that now supports the war on drugs."

Stevens was a teenager during Prohibition and grew up in the Chicago of Al Capone and speakeasies. His mother was a fervent supporter of Prohibition, but his father, a hotelier, had a more practical outlook, saying that repeal would help his business.

"[J]ust as Prohibition in the 1920's and early 1930's was secretly questioned by thousands of otherwise law-abiding patrons of bootleggers and speakeasies, today the actions of literally millions of otherwise law-abiding users of marijuana, and of the majority of voters in each of the several states that tolerate medicinal uses of the product, lead me to wonder whether the fear of disapproval by those in the majority is silencing opponents of the war on drugs," Stevens wrote in his dissent.

Firm Seeks OK for Cannabis-Based MS Drug

GW Pharma has filed in Great Britain for approval of the cannabis-based drug Sativex, developed for treatment of muscle stiffness related to multiple sclerosis.

Long-Term Marijuana Use May Fog Memory

Memory, attention, and verbal fluency appear to suffer among regular, long-term marijuana users.

Marijuana puts kids at risk.

It is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today and more potent than ever. Learn more about marijuana health effects.

7 Myths About Marijuana Every Parent Needs to Clarify With Their Kids

Talking to teens about drugs is an essential component to prevention. Talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol often and take steps to build credibility. Doing so will increase the likelihood that your teen will value your opinion.

Teens tend to have a lot of misconceptions about marijuana that stems from overhearing misinformation from peers and reading inaccurate statements online. Take time to explain the truth about marijuana and debunk these seven commonly held myths
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