Pot. Grass. Weed. Mary Jane. Ganja.
You’ve probably heard a ton about marijuana, not only recently, but in general. Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Kristen Stewart and a slew more celebs (oh, hey Snoop Dogg) are pretty open with their appreciation of the drug. These famous faces, plus movies like Pineapple Express, can make it seem like everyone is smoking it. Truth is, a lot of people use marijuana–though more people don’t use marijuana.
We’re not here to scare you here or run your life, but you deserve to make informed decisions about what and whether you inhale. Know the risks before you do anything!
*Smoking pot without a medical prescription is illegal in the U.S.–you and your friends could get in mega trouble if you get caught.
*You already know cigarettes are terrible for you. Turns out, smoking weed is too — maybe even worse. It can contain 50% to 70% more carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) than tobacco smoke does.
*Smoking marijuana can pose a lot of the same health risks as cigarette smokers, including coughing, wheezing, and sometimes more chest colds.
*Heavy use of marijuana can mess with your menstrual cycle and make your period irregular. Yikes!
*Medical marijuana has proven beneficial for some ailments, but it can have lots of negative side effects on the developing brain–and if you’re reading this, chances are your brain is still developing! It doesn’t finish completely til you’re 25. Using marijuana at a young age can lead you to develop weakened verbal and communication skills, a shorter attention span, and lower learning capabilities.
*Marijuana use can negatively impact your short-term memory (making you forget your homework or accidentally flake on your pals).
*Marijuana can make driving more dangerous. It can affect your alertness, reaction time, and concentration, all of which you need in tip top shape to be behind the wheel. Smoking weed can also make your perception of space and distances skewed, which is really dangerous on the road.
*Traces of marijuana can linger in your body for close to three months after you use it–something to keep in mind since a lot of jobs require a drug test before they’ll hire you.
*The high users experience from marijuana use is a result of the drug releasing dopamine, a feel-good chemical in your brain. It can lead some users to want that feeling again and again, resulting in a psychological dependency on the drug.
*While smoking weed can make some users feel relaxed, it affects everyone differently. Some users experience anxiety, panic attacks, and depression when they use the drug.
*While opponents of marijuana refer to it as a gateway drug and claim that trying it can lead people to try other drugs, that may not be entirely true. Most people who try marijuana don’t use other drugs. However, most people who do use other drugs did try marijuana first.