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What Is Marijuana? Are There Different Kinds?

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Updated May 22, 2014

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What Is Marijuana?

Two rolled marijuana joints

Indiana Prevention Resource Center
Question: What Is Marijuana? Are There Different Kinds?
Answer: Marijuana is a product of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa) and appears as a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana.

Stronger forms of marijuana include: sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah; a Spanish word), hashish ("hash" for short), and hash oil.

All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works.

All forms of marijuana contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains.

The potency of marijuana has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Has smoking weed become a problem for you?
Take the Marijuana Screening Quiz

Back to: Marijuana FAQ for Teens

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Want to Know More?- Some FAQs about Marijuana." Marijuana: Facts for Teens Updated October 2013

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." Research Report Series Updated July 2012

The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Marijuana." Drug Guide. Accessed April 2014.

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