Weed is likely the most common name for a popular recreational substance called Marijuana. Users take the dried leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant and smoke it in cigarettes, blunts (larger, cigar-like forms), pipes, or water pipes. Vaporizers are also popular for inhaling marijuana smoke. A common question is, “How long does weed (marijuana) stay in your system?”
The fact that this question is even raised reveals that users know there are negative health effects. Nevertheless, there is a strong movement in the United States to legalize its use for recreational purposes, and to a lesser extent, medical uses. In states where its sale is legal, it is often mixed into food, including:
It is important to note that recreational use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and Washington, D.C. In 19 states, medicinal use of marijuana is legal for specific patients. However, under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, lack any medical value, and cannot be safely prescribed.
WHAT MAKES MARIJUANA A DRUG?
Marijuana is a psychoactive substance, meaning that it causes an altered state of mind. In fact, it is this altered state of consciousness that users seek to experience. The culprit causing this psychoactive state is THC, or delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of over 490 constituents of marijuana.
Because THC causes this state of altered consciousness, marijuana is classified as a drug. The more THC that a person ingests, the more harm is possible. Although discounted by many, especially those proponents of legalizing its use, marijuana is addictive.
- 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
- 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.
The length of time marijuana can be detected in your system varies, according to the strength of the THC you have ingested and your rate of usage. A one-time user may only be detectable for a day or two. In regular users, marijuana can be detected from 1 to 90 days. It can be detected in the hair of a daily user for several months.
IS MARIJUANA DANGEROUS?
Marijuana use is dangerous to a person’s mental and physical health. Prolonged use can have long-term effects on health, and can lead to other powerful addictions. Because many users become bored with the “high” obtained from marijuana, they are more likely to experiment with stronger, even more addictive and harmful drugs.
Marijuana can affect your daily life, slowing reactions, cognizant brain functions, and information processing. This can influence your performance at work and at school. It can impact your relationships with loved ones and others. Driving while in a mind-altered state can be extremely dangerous, raising your risk for serious or fatal accidents.
Marijuana can also affect:
- Brain health — Marijuana causes permanent loss of “IQ points” (up to 8 when using from youth), which do not regenerate even after stopping use.
- Mental health — Research proves that marijuana use is linked to anxiety, depression, psychotic spells and even suicidal thoughts and attempts.
- Physical health — Research also shows that marijuana use over time affects movement, coordination, and timing, harming your physical abilities for work, sports, and leisure.
- Pregnancy — Marijuana use while pregnant is proven to raise the risks for premature birth, stillbirth, fetal growth restriction, and poor cognitive function in the baby. The THC in marijuana can also be transferred to your baby through your milk, impacting its development.
Prolonged use of marijuana keeps harmful substances in your body that can be detected longer, creating potential problems at work, school, and in other circumstances. Plus, the debilitating effects on your physical and mental health are not worth the desired benefit.