What is Marijuana?

Marijuana has been around for centuries. Its source, the cannabis plant, was first cultivated for its psychoactive properties more than 2,000 years ago. Although cannabis contains at least 400 different chemicals, its main mind-altering ingredient is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).

Marijuana is by far the world's most commonly used illicit drug and is more dangerous than most users realize.

Today's marijuana is stronger than ever because most is grown indoors and bred for potency. The average THC levels rose from less than 1% in 1970 to more than 7% in 2005.

What are the Dangers for Teens Using Marijuana?

Although dangers exist for marijuana users of all ages, the risk is greatest for teens. Studies show that teens using marijuana develop more slowly than their peers and are less able to master coping skills or make healthy choices.

Another concern is marijuana's role as a "gateway drug." The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that adolescents who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non—pot smoking peers. Sixty percent of youngsters who use marijuana before they turn 15 later go on to use cocaine.

By itself, marijuana is a high-risk substance for adolescents. Teens are more likely to be victims of automobile accidents caused by marijuana's impact on judgment and perception. Feeling uninhibited, teens are also more likely to have unprotected sex which can result in unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Get Help

If you are concerned you or a friend may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs , get help from a counselor, doctor, or other professional. Contact a counselor or campus security at 488-2663 or 471-6911.

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