Truth about-marijuana-booklet-en


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Truth about-marijuana-booklet-en

  1. 1. THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA Ch ro n ic He rb ke S mo ot P s ed as We e op r G D
  2. 2. WHY THIS BOOKLET WAS PRODUCED T here is a lot of talk about drugs in the world—on the streets, at school, on the Internet and TV. Some of it is true, some not. Much of what you hear about drugs actually comes from those selling them. Reformed drug dealers have confessed they would have said anything to get others to buy drugs. Don’t be fooled. You need facts to avoid becoming hooked on drugs and to help your friends stay off them. That is why we have prepared this booklet—for you. Your feedback is important to us, so we look forward to hearing from you. You can visit us on the web at and e-mail us at
  3. 3. Wha is marijuana t ? arijuana is the word used to describe the Regardless of the name, this drug is aM dried flowers, seeds and leaves of theIndian hemp plant. On the street, it is called by hallucinogen—a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world you live in.many other names, such as: astro turf, bhang, The chemical in cannabis that createsdagga, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, home grown, this distortion is known as “THC.” TheJ, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, roach, Texas tea amount of THC found in any given batchand weed. of marijuana may varyHashish is a related form of the drug, made substantially, butfrom the resins of the Indian hemp plant. Also overall, thecalled chocolate, hash, or shit, it is on average percentagesix times stronger than marijuana. of THC has increased in“Cannabis” describes any of the different recent years.drugs that come from Indian hemp, includingmarijuana and hashish. 3
  4. 4. How is it used? arijuana is the most commonly used illegal M drug in the world. A survey conducted in 2007 found that 14.4 million individuals in the US alone had smoked marijuana at least once during the previous month. Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint), but may also be smoked in a pipe. Less often, it is mixed with food and eaten or brewed as tea. Sometimes users open up cigars and remove the tobacco, replacing it with pot—called a “blunt.” Joints and blunts are sometimes laced with other, more powerful drugs, such as crackMarijuana is cocaine or PCP (phencyclidine,a mixture of Hashish is tan, brown or black resindried‑out leaves, that is dried and pressed into bars, a powerful hallucinogen).stems, flowers and seeds sticks or balls. When smoked, both marijuana and hashish give off a When a person smokesof the hemp plant. It is usually distinctive, sweet odor. a joint, he usually feelsgreen, brown or gray in color.
  5. 5. its effect within minutes. The immediate street namessensations—increased heart rate, lessenedcoordination and balance, and a “dreamy,” unreal MARIJUANA HASHISHstate of mind—peak within the first 30 minutes. Pot ChocolateThese short‑term effects usually wear off in Herb Hashtwo to three hours, but they could last longer, Weed Shitdepending on how much the user takes, the Grasspotency of THC and the presence of other drugsadded into the mix. White WidowAs the typical user inhales more smoke and holds Ganjait longer than he would with a cigarette, a joint Astro turfcreates a severe impact on one’s lungs. Aside from Bhangthe discomfort that goes with sore throats andchest colds, it has been found that consuming one Daggajoint gives as much exposure to cancer‑producing Dopechemicals as smoking five cigarettes. Hemp Home grownThe mental consequences of marijuana use areequally severe. Marijuana smokers have poorer Jmemories and mental aptitude than do non‑users. Mary Jane ReeferAnimals given marijuana by researchers have even Roachsuffered structural damage to the brain. Texas tea 5
  6. 6. Marijuana its background he Indian hemp plant (from which the plant. By using modern farming techniques,T cannabis drugs like marijuana andhashish are made) was grown for use as an hemp growers have developed strains of cannabis which have much higher levels ofhallucinogen more than 2,000 years ago. THC than in the past. THC levels averaged 1% in 1974 and 4% in 1994. In 2008, levelsAlthough cannabis contains over 400 different reached 9.6%, highest ever since analysis ofchemicals, the main ingredient which affects the drug began in the 1970s.the mind is THC. The amount of THC in thehemp plant determines the strength of the One form of cannabis, called sinsemilladrug. The weather, soil and other factors (Spanish for “without seeds”), may havedetermine the percentage of THC found in THC levels from 7.5% to as much as 24%.6
  7. 7. ALCOHOL VS.MARIJUANAIs smoking a joint the same as drinking alcohol? and intensity of usage.You decide. Here are the facts: THC damages the immuneAlcohol consists of one substance only: system. Alcoholethanol. Marijuana contains more than does not.400 known chemicals, including the samecancer‑causing substances found in tobacco There is no intentionsmoke. Unlike cigarette smokers, pot smokers here to minimize thetend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke as dangers of alcohol abuse, which can belong as possible to increase the effect of the equally harmful. Users, however, need to bedrug, worsening the damage to the lungs. aware that the chemicals in marijuana, some of them cancer‑causing, remain in the bodyAlcohol is eliminated from the body in a few long after the drug is taken.hours, but THC stays in the body for weeks,possibly months, depending on the length 7
  8. 8. International Statistics A ccording to the United Nations, 158.8 million marijuana for the first time that year. • Among 12- to 17‑year-olds, 6.7% were people around the world use current marijuana users in 2007. marijuana—more than 3.8% of the planet’s population. • According to US government estimates, domestic marijuana production has increased • Over 94 million people in the US have admitted tenfold over the last 25 years: from 1,000 using it at least once. metric tons (2.2 million pounds) in 1981 to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) in • According to the 2006. Not surprisingly, 58% of those aged 2007 National 12 to 17 state that pot is easy to obtain. Survey on Drug US marijuana users spent approximately Use and Health, $10.5 billion on the drug in the year 2000. 2.1 million people in the US abused • In 2005, 242,200 emergency room visits in the United States involved marijuana.8
  9. 9. • According to the USDrug EnforcementAdministration, a largepercentage of thosearrested for crimes testpositive for marijuana.Nationwide, 40% of adultmales tested positive at thetime of their arrest.• Of adults 26 or older who used marijuanabefore age 15, 62% went on to use cocaine atsome point in their lives; 9% went on to useheroin at least once; and 54% made somenon‑medical use of mind‑altering prescriptiondrugs.• Next to alcohol, marijuana is the secondmost frequently found substance in thebodies of drivers involved in fatalautomobile accidents. 9
  10. 10. THE harmful EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA he immediate effects of taking marijuana Long‑time joint smokers often suffer fromT include rapid heart beat, disorientation, bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratorylack of physical coordination, often followed depression or sleepiness. Some users suffer The drug can affect more than your physicalpanic attacks or anxiety. health. Studies in Australia in 2008 linkedBut the problem does not end there. According years of heavy marijuana use to brainto scientific studies, the active ingredient in abnormalities. This is backed up by earliercannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks research on the long‑term effects of marijuana,or longer. which indicate changes in the brain similar to those caused by long‑term abuse of otherMarijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more major drugs. And a number of studies havecancer‑causing substances than tobacco shown a connectionsmoke. One major research study reported between continuedthat a single cannabis joint could cause as marijuana use andmuch damage to the lungs as up to five psychosis.regular cigarettes smoked one after another.10
  11. 11. Marijuana changes the structureof sperm cells, deforming them.Thus even small amounts ofmarijuana can cause temporary manysterility in men. Marijuana use can upset children ofa woman’s menstrual cycle. marijuana users haveStudies show that the mental functions of been bornpeople who have smoked a lot of marijuana with reducedtend to be diminished. The THC in cannabis initiative anddisrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting lessened abilitiesmemory. to concentrate andCannabis is one of the few drugs which causes pursue life goals.abnormal cell division which leads to severe Studies also suggesthereditary defects. A pregnant woman who that prenatal (beforeregularly smokes marijuana or hashish may birth) use of the drug may result in birthgive birth prematurely to an undersized, defects, mental abnormalities and increasedunderweight baby. Over the last 10 years, risk of leukemia* in children. * leukemia: cancer of the bone marrow. 11
  12. 12. LONG‑term effects • Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.) • uppression of the immune system S Short‑term • Growth disorders • Increase of abnormally effects structured cells in the body • Sensory distortion • Reduction of male sex hormones • Panic • Rapid destruction of lung fibers • Anxiety and lesions (injuries) to the brain • oor coordination of P could be permanent movement • Reduced sexual capacity • Lowered reaction time • fter an initial “up,” • Study difficulties: reduced ability A to learn and retain information the user feels sleepy • Apathy, drowsiness, lack of or depressed motivation • ncreased heartbeat I • Personality and mood changes (and risk of heart • Inability to understand attack) things clearly12
  13. 13. Istartedwho said that I wasdare chickenbest friend using on a lark, a too from a tosmoke a joint and drink a quart of beer. I wasfourteen at that time. After seven years ofusing and drinking I found myself at the end ofthe road with addiction. I was no longer usingto feel euphoria, I was just using to feel somesemblance of normality. “Then I started having negative feelingsabout myself and my own abilities. I hatedthe paranoia.* I hated looking over myshoulder all the time. I really hated nottrusting my friends. I became so paranoid thatI successfully drove everyone away and foundmyself in the terrible place no one wants tobe in—I was alone. I’d wake up in the morningand start using and keep using throughout theday.” — Paul* paranoia: suspicion, distrust or fear of other people. 13
  14. 14. ON THE ROAD TO DRUG ABUSEB ecause a tolerance builds up, marijuana can lead users to consume stronger people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. The drug (marijuana)drugs to achieve the same high. When the masks the problem for a time (while the usereffects start to wear off, the person may turn is high). When the “high” fades, the problem,to more potent drugs to rid himself of the unwanted condition or situation returns moreunwanted conditions that caused him to take intensely than before. The user may then turnmarijuana in the first place. Marijuana itself to stronger drugs since marijuana no longerdoes not lead the person to the other drugs; “works.”14
  15. 15. The vast majority of cocaine users (99.9%)began by first using a “gateway drug” likemarijuana, cigarettes or alcohol. Of course,not everyone who smokes marijuana andhashish goes on to use harder drugs. Somenever do. Others quit using marijuanaaltogether. But some do turn to harder drugs.One study found that youth (12 to 17 yearsold) who use marijuana are 85 times morelikely to use cocaine than kids who do not usepot, and that 60% of the kids who smoke potbefore the age of 15 move on to cocaine.Marijuana is sometimes combined withharder drugs. Joints are sometimes dipped inPCP, a powerful hallucinogen. PCP is a whitepowder, also available in liquid form, andoften used with cannabis. PCP is known for I was given my first joint in the playground of my school. I’m a heroincausing violent behavior and creating severe addict now, and I’ve just finished myphysical reactions including seizures, coma eighth treatment for drug addiction.”and even death. — Christian 15
  16. 16. Behind the smoke screen T he use of marijuana is not only harmful to the pot smoker himself. He can also become a risk to society. Research clearly shows that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life. A study of 129 college students found that, among those who smoked the drug at least 27 of the 30 days before being surveyed, critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning were seriously diminished. A study of postal workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more accidents, 85% more injuries and a 75% increase in being absent from work.16
  17. 17. In Australia, a study found that cannabisintoxication was responsible for 4.3% of driverfatalities.It is almost impossible to grow up in America,or any country, and not be exposed to drugs.Peer pressure to do drugs is high and honestinformation about the dangers of drugs is notalways available.Many people will tell you marijuana is notdangerous. Consider who is telling you that.Are these the same people who are trying to sell you some pot? T he teacher in the school I went to would smoke three or four joints a day. He got lots of students to start smoking joints, me included. His dealer then pushed me to start using heroin, which I did without resisting. By that time, it was as if my conscience was already dead.” — Veronique
  18. 18. Marijuana can harm a person’s memory—and this impact can last for days or weeks after the immediate effects of the drug wear off. In one study, a group of heavy marijuana users were asked to recall words from a list. Their ability to correctly remember the words did not return to normal until as long as four weeks after they stopped smoking. Students who use marijuana have lower grades and are less likely to get into college than non‑smokers. They simply do not have the same abilities to remember and organize information compared to those who do not use these substances.18
  19. 19. what dealers will tell youWhen teens were surveyed to find out to buy their drugs. They will tell you thatwhy they started using drugs in the “weed won’t lead you to harder drugs.”first place, 55% replied that it was due They don’t care if the drugs ruin your lifeto pressure from their friends. They as long as they are getting paid. All theywanted to be cool and popular. Dealers care about is money. Former dealersknow this. have admitted they saw their buyers asThey will approach you as a friend and “pawns in a chess game.”offer to “help you out” with “something Get the facts about drugs. Make yourto bring you up.” The drug will “help you own in” or “make you cool.”Drug dealers, motivated by the profitsthey make, will say anything to get you 19
  20. 20. The Truth About DrugsD rugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short‑term help in the relief of pain, they alsoA small amount acts as a stimulant (speeds wipe out ability and alertness and muddy one’syou up). A greater amount acts as a sedative thinking.(slows you down). An even larger amountpoisons and can kill. Medicines are drugs that are intended to speed up or slow down or change something aboutThis is true of any drug. Only the amount the way your body is working, to try to makeneeded to achieve the effect differs. it work better. Sometimes they are necessary.But many drugs have another liability: they But they are still drugs: they act as stimulantsdirectly affect the mind. They can distort the or sedatives, and too much can kill you. So ifuser’s perception of what is happening around you do not use medicines as they are supposedhim or her. As a result, the person’s actions to be used, they can be as dangerous asmay be odd, irrational, inappropriate and even illegal drugs.destructive.20
  21. 21. The real answer is to getthe facts and not to take drugs in the first place. 21
  22. 22. why do people take drugs? People take drugs because they want to They think drugs are a solution. But change something in their lives. eventually, the drugs become the problem. Here are some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs: Difficult as it may be to face one’s problems, the consequences of drug use • To fit in are always worse than the problem one • To escape or relax is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not to • To relieve boredom take drugs in the first place. • To seem grown up • To rebel • To experiment22
  23. 23. Millions of copies of booklets such asREFERENCES Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2005: National this have been distributed to peopleSubstance Abuse and Estimates of Drug‑RelatedMental Health Services around the world in 22 languages. As Emergency DepartmentAdministration Visits new drugs appear on the streets andMedical Research Institute “NIDA Infofacts: more information about their effectsof New Zealand Marijuana,” 14 Jan 2008, becomes known, existing booklets are“Study strengthens National Institute on Drug updated and new ones created.marijuana brain damage Abusecase,” ABC News, United Nations Office on The booklets are published by the4 June 2008 Drugs and Crime 2007 Foundation for a Drug‑Free World, a World Drug Report“Cannabis harm worse nonprofit public benefit organizationthan tobacco,” BBC News, University of South31 July 2007 headquartered in Los Angeles, Carolina California.“New Report Finds Highest Drug EnforcementEver Levels of THC in Administration The Foundation provides educationalU.S. Marijuana,” Officeof National Drug Control American Academy of materials, advice and coordinationPolicy press release, Pediatrics for its international drug prevention12 Jun 2008 PHOTO CREDITS: network. It works with youth, parents,National Toxicology Page 10, 12, 14: Alamy. educators, volunteer organizations andSpecialists Inc. government agencies—anyone with an“Marijuana Productionin the United States,” interest in helping people lead lives freeJon Gettman from drug abuse. 23
  24. 24. FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOWThis booklet is one in a series of publications that cover the facts about marijuana, alcohol,Ecstasy, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal meth and methamphetamine, inhalants, heroin,LSD and prescription drug abuse. Armed with this information, the reader can make thedecision to live a drug‑free life. For more information or to obtain more copies of this or other booklets in this series, contact: Foundation for a Drug‑Free World 1626 N. Wilcox Avenue, #1297 Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA • e‑mail: TM Phone: 1‑888 NO TO DRUGS (1‑888‑668‑6378)© 2008 Foundation for a Drug‑Free World. All Rights Reserved. The Foundation logo is a trademark owned by theFoundation for a Drug‑Free World. Item #C6231 US-ENG
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