Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering. Cannabis has various mental and physical effects, which include euphoria, altered states of mind and sense of time, difficulty concentrating, impaired short-term memory and body movement, relaxation, and an increase in appetite. Onset of effects is felt within minutes when smoked, and about 30 to 60 minutes when cooked and eaten. The effects last for two to six hours, depending on the amount used. At high doses, mental effects can include anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. There is a strong relation between cannabis use and the risk of psychosis, though the direction of causality is debated. Physical effects include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral problems in children whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy; short-term side effects may also include dry mouth and red eyes. Long-term adverse effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability in those who started regular use as adolescents, chronic coughing, and susceptibility to respiratory infections.
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