How is Marijuana Abused?Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with amixture of marijuana and tobacco. This mode of delivery combines marijuana's active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Marijuana can also be mixed infood or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish; and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent anddistinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produceits many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organsthroughout the body.
THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead tothe "high" that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density ofcannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.1