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What Happens If You Smoke Marijuana?


Updated June 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Effects of Marijuana
Sean Gallup Collection/Getty Images News
Question: What Happens If You Smoke Marijuana?
Answer: How marijuana affects the individual user depends on many different factors, including the user's previous experience. Believe it or not, some people report not feeling anything at all when they smoke marijuana. Most users, however, report feeling relaxed or "high."

Some people who smoke marijuana report having sudden feelings of anxiety and paranoid thoughts. These responses are more likely to occur with use of higher potency marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Research also shows that regular use of marijuana is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and a loss of motivation or drive - when users lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed.

The effects of smoking marijuana can be unpredictable, especially when it is mixed with other drugs, research shows.

Unpredictable Reactions

The NIDA reports that marijuana can affect each person differently according to:
  • Biology (his or her genes)
  • Marijuana's strength or potency (how much THC it has)
  • Previous experience with the drug
  • How it's taken (smoked versus ingested)
  • Whether alcohol or other drugs are involved

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

Back to: Marijuana FAQ for Teens


National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." DrugFacts Updated January 2014

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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