The Different Forms of Marijuana

Marijuana plant still life
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Marijuana is a product of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa) and appears as a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana.

Stronger forms of marijuana include sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah, a Spanish word), hashish ("hash" for short), and resins like hash oil, wax (similar to lip balm), and shatter (an amber colored solid), which contain high doses of the active ingredients.

Other Forms of Marijuana

With the advent of legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in some states has come the development of other types of products that contain marijuana. Some people vaporize it with a vape pen, while still others smoke marijuana cigars, called blunts.

There are edible marijuana products with marijuana or marijuana oils cooked into or infused into them. Marijuana oil is used to produce all kinds of edible products from cookies and cakes to gummy bears and chocolate bars.

Oils, Sprays, and Tinctures

Marijuana oils can be added to all kinds of beverages, from sodas and energy drinks to teas and elixirs. There are also flavored marijuana sprays that can be sprayed directly under your tongue for a quick high, or sprayed on marijuana joints and blunts.

Marijuana tinctures—marijuana in a solution of alcohol—can also be used under your tongue to produce a fast-action, intense high. We have come a long way from the day when the vast majority of raw marijuana was rolled into joints or stuffed into pipes.

All Forms Are Mind-Altering

All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how your brain works by attaching to molecules on the brain and activating them, typically creating the effects of euphoria, relaxation, and a sharper perception of things like colors, smells, and sounds. For some people, the effects are unpleasant and may result in paranoia, fear, panic, or anxiety.

All forms of marijuana also contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active chemical, as well as more than 500 other chemicals. Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains.

The potency of marijuana has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Marijuana Use Disorder

Like any substance, using marijuana can lead to a marijuana use disorder, which may involve dependence or addiction. In fact, ​recent research shows that 30 percent of people who use marijuana may have some sort of marijuana use disorder. The symptoms of dependence and addiction include:

  • Dependence: When you're dependent on marijuana, you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you're not using it. These symptoms can include irritability, feeling restless, craving marijuana, having less of an appetite, moodiness, trouble sleeping, and other physical symptoms. Dependence happens when your brain has adapted to large amounts of marijuana.
  • Addiction: If you're addicted to marijuana, you can't stop using it, despite the problems it may cause in your life.

If you think you may have a marijuana use disorder, it's important to seek help from a healthcare provider.

View Article Sources
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana. Research Report Series. Updated December 2017.
  • Partnership for DrugFree Kids. Marijuana.