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DEA Sees Danger in Marijuana Use

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The Drug Enforcement Administration describes marijuana as a mind-altering drug with a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana is produced by the Cannabis sativa plant with more than 480 constituents, led by the main ingredient THC.

THC is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which the agency says is the main ingredient that produces the "psychoactive effect."

According to "Drugs of Abuse," a resource guide the DEA published in 2011, marijuana goes by the following street names: Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed and Yerba.

Here are summations of other marijuana descriptions from the DEA:

* Marijuana is a dry, shredded green or brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds and leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant that may resemble tobacco.

* Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe or bong. It is also mixed with foods or brewed as a tea.

* THC when smoked passes into the user's bloodstream and travels to organs throughout the body, including the brain. The THC connects to cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and influences the activity of those cells. These receptors influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Accordingly, short-term marijuana effects include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination.

* Users may also experience dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, merriment, exhilaration, relaxation, talkativeness, heightened imagination, time distortions, hallucinations, impaired judgment, inability to converse logically, impaired driving ability and increased appetite.

* The short-term physical effects may also include sedation, bloodshot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing from lung irritation and decreased blood pressure.

* Withdrawal symptoms may include restlessness, irritability, sleep difficulties and decreased appetite.

* No death from marijuana overdose has ever been reported.

* Marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The federal government considers marijuana to have a high potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use in the United States. Instead, the government believes that Marinol, a synthetic version of THC and a Schedule III substance, can be used to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients and to control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment.

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