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What is marijuana?

Marijuana, or weed, contains two main ingredients: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). People consume weed in different ways: smoke, vape, eat, drink, apply to the skin. Our bodies process weed differently depending on the way it is used.

What is THC?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part of the marijuana plant that causes people to feel high. The THC content in marijuana today is more potent than the weed of the 80's and 90's.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is the part of the marijuana plant that does not cause people to feel high. It is thought to provide benefits for reducing pain and inflammation.

What are edibles?

An edible is a food item or beverage baked or mixed with weed. Edibles affect your body differently than smoking weed. When weed is smoked, the THC quickly passes from the lungs to the bloodstream and is carried to the brain and other organs throughout your body. When you eat or drink an edible, your body absorbs it and it can take up to 1-2 hours to feel the effects. This makes edibles risky because too much can be consumed at one time while waiting for the high effect Ė let alone the THC potency used in making the edible.

If too much of an edible is consumed, too fast, the person is at risk for a bad reaction including: poisoning, heart racing, or paranoia. These reactions can be scary. If you think this is happening to someone, call the local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Letís Talk About Health Effects


Since weed affects the part in your brain responsible for your decision-making, using it can cause you to make some not-so- awesome decisions. Your sense of time is off, your body moves slower, you have a harder time thinking and problem-solving. All crucial senses you need, for example, to drive a car or to decide not to get in a car with someone who is high or drunk.


THC affects your reaction time and your sense of time. That makes it difficult to drive a car, play your favorite sports, dance, bike, or other activities you enjoy doing.


Marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, irritates your lungs making it harder for you to breathe. This includes secondhand smoke from marijuana. You may develop a daily cough and phlegm and can be at risk for lung infections.

Reach your full potential

Your brain is still developing until the age of 25. Regular use of weed at a young age can lead to addiction and a higher risk for depression.

Signs of addiction

Learning & Memory

Using weed when you are young causes changes in your still growing brain. If you use weed regularly, you are more likely to have difficulty paying attention, learning, and remembering things. This could lead to lower test scores and lower grades.

Keep Your Brain Healthy

Using weed regularly when you are young can damage your brain and hurt your best chance to reach your full potential.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana use can lead to developing an addiction. Those who use marijuana before the age of 18 are 4-7 times more likely to develop marijuana use disorder. Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependenceóin which a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. Marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. 20,21

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Signs of addiction

Signs of Addiction

When does using weed become an addiction? When you use more than you planned to or when you try to quit repeatedly but you canít stop using pot. When it becomes a priority over living your life to its fullest potential and it gets in the way of school, sports, extracurricular activities, or your job. If you or someone you know needs help, call the Los Angeles County Substance Abuse Service Helpline, anytime 24/7 for FREE, at (844) 804-7500 to learn about no-cost treatment services available in Los Angeles County.

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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