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Is Weed and Marijuana the Same Thing? | Weed vs. Marijuana Difference?

Published: 05 December 2009
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Dear Teenheathfx, I don't know much about drugs, but is weed actually marijuana? My girlfriend says she smoked weed, though only has been doing it for a month, and has only tried 3 times. According to her, her best friend wanted to try "everything" but wont do so w/o her. She wanted to know if i was ok w/ it, which i wasn't and i asked her to stop. She said she will, and that she wasn't really interested and only did it for fun. However i'm still worried: is 3 times dangerous enough to get any health damages, short term & long? Is she in danger of becoming addicted, or safe? -worried & ignorant
Signed: Is "Weed" The Same Thing As Marijuana?

Dear Is "Weed" The Same Thing As Marijuana?,

“Weed” and marijuana are is the same thing; there is no difference with weed vs. marijuana. Marijuana is a drug with many different slang terms, such as “weed,” “grass,” “pot,” and “reefer.” FX is glad that you are looking out for your girlfriend’s well-being, as well as looking to educate yourself more about marijuana so that you can be well-informed about this drug in terms of decisions you will make for yourself, as well as what you will encourage in the people you know.

As for your girlfriend having used marijuana 3 times, FX would focus less at this point on the three times she used and more on her intentions for the future. Given some of what you stated above, the real concerns will come if she continues to use marijuana or decides to experiment with other types of drugs. FX is glad that you asked her not to use again, and certainly hopes you will encourage her to stay away from drugs in general from this point on. 

To answer the rest of your questions, FX has broken down some of the information presented by the NIDA for Teens website on Marijuana. For the basic facts that will answer your specific questions, please read below. For more detailed information on marijuana, we recommend you go directly to their website. For additional information on marijuana use and teens, you can also go the Teen Drug Abuse website page Marijuana Use Among Teens.

What are the short-terms effects of marijuana use?

  • Some people will experience a “high” as the THC in the marijuana triggers the brain cells     to release the chemical dopamine (a chemical in the brain the basically creates good feelings).
  • Loss of coordination
  • Clouded memory, judgment and perception
  • Increased heart rate
  • Potential increase is risk-taking behaviors. For some people the use of marijuana can negatively impact decision making skills. People may end up trying other drugs while high, getting into the car where the driver is high or drunk, or participating in risky sexual activities that they might not have if they were sober.
  • Another concern with short-term effects is whether or not the marijuana has been laced with any other type of more potent drug that could have problematic immediate effects.

What are the long-term effects of regular marijuana use/abuse?

  • Increased difficulty with complex tasks
  • Work, school, sports, and other pursuits could become compromised due to a tendency to be more inattentive and less focused.
  • Increased risk of developing psychosis, especially if you are genetically vulnerable.
  • There is a high correlation between people who use marijuana and who deal with depressive and anxiety disorders. However, there is still some question as to whether one causes the other. 
  • Risk of lung injury; similar breathing problems as tobacco smokers will experience such as chest colds, coughs, and bronchitis
  • The potential of becoming addicted
  • The potential for withdrawal symptoms once the marijuana is stopped, such as irritable mood, weight loss, and sleep problems
  • A marijuana user is more likely than a non-marijuana use to be exposed to and urged to try other drugs.

Can people become addicted to marijuana?

It is possible for people to become addicted to marijuana. Because marijuana increases dopamine, which creates the “high” that users feel, a user may feel increased urges to smoke marijuana repeatedly – and repeated use can lead to addiction. Addiction is basically defined as continuing to do something despite the negative consequences. There are all kinds of addictions – drugs, tobacco, gambling, and even sex addictions. And marijuana use can become an addiction as well. 

Now that we have answered your weed and marijuana question, FX recommends two things: The first is that you pass on this information to your girlfriend so she can be knowledgeable about the effects of marijuana and make healthy decisions for herself. The second is to talk to her about her friend and her friend’s influence on her. For one thing, is she concerned that her friend wants to try “everything”? Her friend could end up addicted, overdosing, or dealing with other kinds of problems if she is intent on using every kind of drug. Second, ask your girlfriend why she is so willing to go along with her friend. Rather than going along with it, FX would hope that she would want to discourage her friend from doing this, and, at the very least, not expose herself to the dangers of these drugs. Your girlfriend can’t stop her friend from using, but she does have the power and control not to use anything, herself.

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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