So, what is weed? Weed is the street name for marijuana which also goes by the name ganja, pot, bud, Mary Jane, herb and many other names that keep coming up. It is a mixture of dried cannabis sativa or hemp plant flowers and shredded leaves of the same plant that is greenish gray in color. Weed users can smoke marijuana from hand rolled cigarettes which are also referred to as joints. Different people will use water pipes (also known as bongs), pipes or even marijuana cigars (blunts) which is made by slicing regular cigars open to remove some or all of the tobacco to replace it with marijuana.
Weed may also be consumed in brewed tea. Often times it is packaged and sold as medicinal products, to consume it is mixed into food (normally edibles) like candies, brownies or cookies. There are also concentrated resins that contain high amounts of weed’s active compounds such as ‘hash oil’ which looks like honey, hard amber-like ‘shatter’ and ‘waxy budder. These are also becoming increasingly popular among medicinal and recreational users of weed.
The main ingredient which alters the mind or the chemical in weed that is responsible for the intoxication brought about by marijuana consumption is called delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinno or THC. This ingredient is mainly located on the leaf and bud of the female Cannabis sativa plant, the part of the leaf being the resin. Cannabis sativa also has over 500 other chemicals together with 100 compounds closely related to THC, these compounds are known as cannabinoids.
Weed is mainly consumed as an illicit drug. It is used by at least 81 per cent of illicit drug users. In a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, illicit drug users stood at 19.8 million in 2014. An illicit drug user in this case was described as one who has used drugs sometime within the 30 days prior to the research. Weed was found to be the only drug consumed by 64.7 per cent of this sample.
Weed consumption is not only limited to one population, its use is widespread mainly young adults and adolescents. According to another report released by the Monitoring the Future survey, most marijuana measures have steadily gone up among 8th, 10th and 12th grade users. These results were based on an annual survey of drug use among high school students. These figures have been going up over the last ten years.
The perceptions of the risks associated with weed consumption have also been on a decline over the same period of time. This is possibly attributed to the increased public discussion on the legalization or the relaxation of regulation on weed as a medicinal and recreational drug. In the last survey which was released in 2013, 11.7 per cent of eighth graders reported that they had used weed over the past year while 6.5 per cent were currently consuming it. When it came to tenth graders, 27.3 per cent of them had consumed marijuana over the past year while 16.6 per cent were using currently.