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General Information About Marijuana and Hashish

Marijuana/Hashish is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. A dry,
shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the hemp plant
Cannabis sativa, it usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is
smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with
marijuana, often in combination with another drug. It might also be mixed in food 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 and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour
odor. There are countless street terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass,
widow, ganja, and hash, as well as terms derived from trademarked varieties of cannabis,
such as Bubble Gum, Northern Lights, Fruity Juice, Afghani #1, and a number of Skunk
varieties.

The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The
membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC.
Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the
high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.

The Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use on Learning and Social Behavior

Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily
life or make a person's existing problems worse. Depression, anxiety, and personality
disturbances have been associated with chronic marijuana use. Because marijuana
compromises the ability to learn and remember information, the more a person uses
marijuana the more he or she is likely to fall behind in accumulating intellectual, job, or
social skills. Moreover, research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on memory and
learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.

Students who smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high
school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. A study of 129 college students found that,
among those who smoked the drug at least 27 of the 30 days prior to being surveyed,
critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning were significantly impaired, even
after the students had not taken the drug for at least 24 hours. These "heavy" marijuana
abusers had more trouble sustaining and shifting their attention and in registering,
organizing, and using information than did the study participants who had abused
marijuana no more than 3 of the previous 30 days. As a result, someone who smokes
marijuana every day may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level all of the time.

More recently, the same researchers showed that the ability of a group of long-term heavy
marijuana abusers to recall words from a list remained impaired for a week after quitting,
but returned to normal within 4 weeks. Thus, some cognitive abilities may be restored in
individuals who quit smoking marijuana, even after long-term heavy use.

Workers who smoke marijuana are more likely than their coworkers to have problems on
the job. Several studies associate workers' marijuana smoking with increased absences,
tardiness, accidents, workers' compensation claims, and job turnover. A study among postal
workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment
urine drug test had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries, and a 75-
percent increase in absenteeism compared with those who tested negative for marijuana
use. In another study, heavy marijuana abusers reported that the drug impaired several
important measures of life achievement including cognitive abilities, career status, social life,
and physical and mental health.

Addictive Potential of Marijuana/Hashish

Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they abuse the
drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational
activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana
smokers to stop abusing the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness,
and anxiety. They also display increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking
approximately one week after the last use of the drug.

Treating Marijuana/Hashish Problems

The latest treatment data indicate that, in 2002, marijuana was the primary drug of abuse
in about 15 percent (289,532) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States.
Marijuana admissions were primarily male (75 percent), White (55 percent), and young (40
percent were in the 15-–19 age range). Those in treatment for primary marijuana abuse
had begun use at an early age; 56 percent had abused it by age 14 and 92 percent had
abused it by 18.

One study of adult marijuana abusers found comparable benefits from a 14-session
cognitive-behavioral group treatment and a 2-session individual treatment that included
motivational interviewing and advice on ways to reduce marijuana use. Participants were
mostly men in their early thirties who had smoked marijuana daily for more than 10 years.
By increasing patients' awareness of what triggers their marijuana abuse, both treatments
sought to help patients devise avoidance strategies. Abuse, dependence symptoms, and
psychosocial problems decreased for at least 1 year following both treatments; about 30
percent of the patients were abstinent during the last 3-month follow up period.

Another study suggests that giving patients vouchers that they can redeem for goods—
such as movie passes, sporting equipment, or vocational training—may further improve
outcomes.

Although no medications are currently available for treating marijuana abuse, recent
discoveries about the workings of the THC receptors have raised the possibility of
eventually developing a medication that will block the intoxicating effects of THC. Such a
medication might be used to prevent relapse to marijuana abuse by lessening or eliminating
its appeal.

Drug Testing

The standard THC test is a one step rapid, qualitative immunoassay for the detection of
tetrahydrocannabinol compounds (9-carboxy-THC) in urine. The cutoff concentration
recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA/NIDA) for a positive result in an immunoassay test is 50 ng/ml. The cutoff for GC-
MS is generally 15 ng/ml.

Testing for marijuana use is simple.  
Drug testing can now be done privately at home or
work with an easy to use instant
drug test kit from Uritox Medical. If you have any
questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Information provided by UriTox, LLC and The National Drug Abuse Organization.
Marijuana and Hashish Information
Drug
Urine
Saliva
Blood
Hair
Marijuana
Single Use 2-14 days
Moderate Use 14-30 days
Chronic Use 30-90 days
24-48 Hours
12 Days
120+ Days
Detection period
Please note these are estimated times. Detection time is an average and can vary greatly.  Detection time can
vary due to multiple circumstances including but not limited to length and amount of use.
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