Drug Overview



Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in America today. The term marijuana, as commonly used, refers to the leaves and flowering tops (buds) of the cannabis plant.

A tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant, marijuana varies significantly in its potency, depending on the source and selection of plant materials used. The form of marijuana known as sinsemilla (Spanish, sin semilla: without seed), derived from the unpollinated female cannabis plant, is preferred for its high THC content.

In former times, the Marijuana LEAF was the product in demand; and the means of producing Marijuana cigarettes was much like the old fashioned ãroll-your-ownä tobacco cigarettes. Things have changed, however, with the development of the newer richer breeds of Marijuana plants. The BUDS of the female plants are now the product of choice; and modern marijuana users quietly enjoy a double meaning from the commercial slogan, ãThis budâs for you. [Do the Budweiser people know yet?]

Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of loosely rolled cigarettes called joints or hollowed out commercial cigars called blunts. Joints and blunts may be laced with a number of adulterants including phencyclidine (PCP), substantially altering the effects and toxicity of these products. Street names for marijuana include pot, grass, weed, Mary Jane, Acupulco Gold, and reefer.

Although marijuana grown in the United States was once considered inferior because of a low concentration of THC, advancements in plant selection and cultivation have resulted in highly potent domestic marijuana. In 1974, the average THC content of illicit marijuana was less than one percent; in early 1994, potency averaged 5 percent. The THC of today’s sinsemilla ranges up to 17 percent.

Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-causing chemicals which are stored in fat cells for as long as several months. Marijuana users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma. Some of the effects of marijuana use also include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, impaired motor skills and concentration, and frequently hunger and an increased desire for sweets. Extended use increases risk to the lungs and reproductive system, as well as suppression of the immune system. Occasionally, hallucinations, fantasies and paranoia are reported. [Abstracted from D.E.A. website, q.v.]


Besides being the most commonly abused illegal substance in America, Marijuana is the most controversial. It is not necessary to remind readers that a vigorous debate has been raging in the country regarding legalization. [See the numerous pertinent links in the “Gallery of Links.”] There are literally millions of regular marijuana users who argue for legalization and even deny, in spite of contrary evidence, that Marijuana causes impairment. Throughout the United States, there are clandestine indoor “hydroponic” Marijuana nurseries, usually growing the highest grades of the plants. In fact, in most areas, there are not only active black markets, but active “brotherhoods” of users which make up a veritable national “community” of Marijuana users and apologists. Not only is Marijuana use practiced and defended in this “community,” but in many quadrants, its use is richly ritualized and celebrated. Any reader who doubts this is referred to the magazine, “High Times” which can be reached from our “Gallery of Links.”
The picture to the left, from High Times magazine, provides an excellent example of the widespread ritualization and celebration of Marijuana. What is pictured are prize-winning “buds” of the plant… which is the preferred form of the drug among astute users.

Drug Effects

Pleasurable feeling! Reduced Anxiety! Enhanced well-being! Specific receptor sites lately found in the brain & given name INTERNAL BLISS.


Incidence of Abuse
Chemical Name
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psycho-active constituent out of 61 ãcannabinoidsä in Marijuana. Cannabis sativa
Forms and Street Names
Pot, grass, weed, reefer, joint, stick, Mary Jane, Acapulco Gold, rope, jive stick, hay, loco weed, bhand, ganja, hash, hash oil, chronic. (Blunts refer to cigars into which marijuana is rolled.)
Length of time detectable after user
4-5 days for casual user, up to 70 days for heavy user. Fat solubility becomes a factor in heavy user. LONGEST DURATION OF ALL THE NIDA-5 DRUGS!
Metabolite Actually sought in urine
M11-nor-THC-9-Carboxylic Acid
Confounding drugs (or factors):
Prescription drug “Marinol” is the only legitimate “lab positive.”
Screening Cut-off:
50 ng/ml, 11-nor-THC-9-Carboxylic Acid
Confirmation GC/MS Cut-of
15 ng/ml, Prescription drug “Marinol” is the only legitimate “lab positive.”
Facts for Verifying M.R.O
The claim of “second-hand smoke” is always spurious! Cutoffs have been carefully researched to “exclude” the second-hand smoker!