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MJA leaf  Marijuana

Street Names:- pot, ganga, weed, green, grass, dope, hash, mary-jane. There are approximately 200 slang terms world wide for the drug.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a product of the dried, shredded flowers & leaves of the 'hemp' plant known as 'Cannabis sativa'. The name derives from the Mexican slang for 'cannibis' and became popular as its name in U.S. during the late 1800's. Many believe that the name is a combination of 'Mary' & 'Jane' - two  'slang' names used by the Mexican military for a 'prostitute' or 'brothel'.

The cannibis plant can grow in nearly all environmental conditions and averages one to two inches of growth per day and up to approximately 18 feet  (in the ideal conditions).

The Marijuana plant contains about 400 chemicals. Sixty (60) of these are ‘cannabinoids’ which are produced inside the body when metabolized. These cannabinoids are ‘psychoactive’, the most potent being ‘tetrahydrocanibol’ (THC).

Marijuana is the 2nd most popular recreational, 'mood altering' drug in the world; after Alcohol. 

 Immediate & 'short term' effects of Marijuana

  • Marijuana increases the heart rate (& pulse rate) by as much as 50%, depending the amount of THC; this can result in 'chest pain' in those with poor blood supply to the heart. 
  • Bloodshot eyes 
  • Dry mouth & throat 
  • Distorted perception 
  • Difficulty thinking & problem solving 
  • Lack of concentration 
  • Disturbed coordination 
  • Hunger or increased appetite 
  • Loss of inhibition 
  • Distorted sense of time 
  • Increased visual sensitivity & heightened imagination 
  • Elation & ocassional 'spontaneous', incongruous outbursts of laughter 

  Adverse effects of Marijuana

  • Excessive lethargy, sleepiness 
  • Memory & learning problems or difficulties 
  • 'Dull' & 'stuporous' 
  • Slow moving 
  • Chronically 'inattentive' 
  • Blunted emotional responses 
  • Lung damage - development of diseases such as emphysema & cancer 
  • Development of 'psychotic symptoms' such as Delusions (particularly grandiose, persecutory, paranoid & often with 'religious themes'); Hallucinations (generally auditory); Paranoia (as a distinctly different phenomenon to the delusional type) 
  • Increasingly deteriorating 'social functioning' & 'withdrawal' 
  • Deteriorating hygiene & attendance to basic appearance 
  • Schizophrenia 

How Marijuana affects the Brain

Once the Marijuana 'smoke' is inhaled into the lungs, the psychoactive chemical THC quickly enters the bloodstream where it is transported throughout the body, attaching to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Certain areas have these receptors, others have few or none. Those with the highest density of receptors are areas involved in or influence ‘coordinated movement’, ‘memory’, ‘concentration’, ‘perception’ (sensory & time), ‘pleasure’ & ‘thoughts’. The human brain makes its own cannabinoids in the cerebral cortex as part of the regulation of neurotransmission for cognitive stasis. Cannabinoids are steroids and are necessary for a multitude of biochemical and neurological functions. These functions are seriously affected by the smoking or ingestion of THC. Long term use and abuse can lead to permanent abnormalities & withdrawal can result in serious adverse effects. In more recent times, researchers have uncovered a neurotransmitter called ‘Anandamide’ to whose receptors THC binds. ‘Anandamide’ is strongly linked with ‘working memory’; with further studies suggesting influence in areas relating to eating & sleeping and pain relief.   


As with many drugs & illicit substances, no one can say with any certainty as to how much, of what type & strength & over what period of time the permanent effects might develop. Every individual is different in genetic makeup & physiological predisposition. There are instances of people who have partaken in Marijuana for much of their life and have developed few of the more serious consequences, and then there are those who succumb early in its use. Due to these 'unknown' elements, the wisest course of action is to not experiment on yourself to see if you are one of the 'lucky' or  'unlucky' ones. The ultimate price is not worth it.

Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 


©2008 Waldel Pty Ltd

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