Myths and Facts: Marijuana
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Marijuana is a green-brown mixture of dried and shredded flowers, stems, seeds and leaves of the hemp plant. You may have heard it called "pot," "weed ," "herb," and "grass." It is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe. Marijuana is both a depressant and hallucinogen.

Although marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, about 85% of Foothill College students are not current users. What is it that they know that you should know?

Myth: Marijuana is better to use than other drugs and alcohol because it is natural.
Fact: Your body is exposed to over 420 chemicals when you smoke marijuana and the marijuana used today is 10 times stronger than the marijuana used in the 60's and 70's. Dealers often cut marijuana with other substances to make their "stash" go farther. Marijuana has been mixed with oregano, PCP, Angel Dust and other substances. Organic, uh? Natural, uh?

Myth: Smoking marijuana is better for you than smoking cigarettes.
Fact: People who smoke marijuana but not tobacco have more health problems and miss more work days than nonsmokers. Marijuana smokers can develop the same breathing problems as cigarette smokers like coughs, colds and bronchitis. Puff for puff smoking marijuana may increase your risk of cancer more than tobacco. Do the math: 1 joint = the same amount of carbon monoxide as in 4 cigarettes. 5 joints per week = exposure to the same amount of cancer causing chemicals as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day per 1 week.

Myth: Marijuana is great for my sex life.
Fact: Regular marijuana use in men can cause lower testosterone levels, lower sperm counts, breast enlargement, and reduced sex drive. A woman's ability to have children may be decreased because marijuana causes changes in your period (menses) and stops eggs from being released from the ovaries.

Myth: Marijuana affects me only as long as the high lasts.
Fact: Research has shown that marijuana can cause loss of short term memory and trouble with problem solving and learning that can last for days or weeks after the high wears off. Someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a lower intellectual level all the time. Marijuana can stay in your body for days or weeks. A urine drug test can show you have used it long after the drug wears off.

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Top of page April 08, 2014