Marijuana basics

  • Marijuana is usually smoked in cigarettes (joints), pipes or water pipes (bongs), vaporized (vaped) or dabbed.
  • Marijuana can be consumed in food or drink products called edibles.
  • It also can be used through tinctures, creams or oils.
  • Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive odor, often referred to as sweet-and-sour or skunky.
  • The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that makes you feel “high.”
  • Typical marijuana plants contain more than 400 chemicals, including about 60 that can interact with the body’s nervous system.
    • Marijuana also can be contaminated with mold, insecticides or other chemicals. The health effects of many of these chemicals are still being studied.
  • Currently, retail marijuana is tested for potency and consistency. 
    • Other testing for contaminants will be rolled out later in 2015. Some growers and sellers already have started to test their products for contamination.
    • All marijuana products must have labels listing any chemicals that were used during growing or production, and whether the product has been tested for contaminants. Products that haven’t been tested for contaminants must be labeled as “not tested.”
  • Marijuana products can be purchased in a variety of concentrations. Some of these products are significantly more potent than the marijuana of the past.
    • Be aware of the concentration you’re purchasing or ask before using someone else's product to avoid accidentally consuming too much.
Synthetic marijuana 
Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2, is not a natural product. It’s made of dried plant material sprayed with chemicals and may cause:
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Tremors (shaking).
  • Vomiting.
  • Paranoia.
  • Loss of physical control.
  • Coma.
Differences between medical and retail marijuana product
  • Retail marijuana sellers use many of the same types of marijuana as those for medical marijuana. However, different rules apply to each type of retailer.
  • There are a number of different strains of marijuana. Some strains have lower levels of THC and higher levels of other chemicals believed to help with certain medical conditions.