Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Marijuana facts
- What is marijuana, and how is it abused?
- What is medical marijuana? How is medical marijuana prescribed?
- What are other names for marijuana?
- What is the history and different types of marijuana?
- Is marijuana addictive?
- What are the psychological and social effects of abusing marijuana?
- What are the physical effects of abusing marijuana?
- What are the treatments for marijuana abuse and addiction?
- Can marijuana abuse and addiction be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of marijuana abuse and addiction?
- Where can people find more information about marijuana abuse and addiction?
What is marijuana, and how is it abused?
Marijuana is a plant whose scientific name is Cannabis sativa. Its leaves, seeds, stems, and/or roots are consumed by marijuana users for the purpose of feeling intoxicated ("high"). Although the plant contains hundreds of compounds, the one that has major intoxicating effects is called tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). Although medical marijuana is legal in a few states of the United States, it is one of many illegal drugs in most jurisdictions. Specifically, laws in most states deem it illegal to engage in possession of marijuana, either for the purpose of your own use or for the purpose of distributing it to others.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal substance worldwide. While the number of people who use marijuana at any one time does not seem to have increased in the past decade, the number of people who have a marijuana-related disorder has increased significantly. This seems to be particularly true for elderly individuals as well as for young Hispanic and African-American adults. In teens, boys remain more likely than girls to smoke or otherwise use marijuana. Native-American adolescents seem to be the ethnic group most vulnerable to engage in recent marijuana use, and Asian adolescents tend to be the least likely.
What is medical marijuana? How is medical marijuana prescribed?
Medical marijuana, also called marinol (Dronabinol), is a synthetic form of marijuana. It comes in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg capsules and is used for the treatment of poor appetite and food intake (anorexia) with weight loss in people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and for the nausea and vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy in individuals who have not responded adequately to usual treatments for those symptoms. When used for appetite stimulation, marinol is usually dosed at 2.5 mg once or twice per day before lunch, dinner, and/or bedtime. When it is being prescribed to quell nausea, it is usually prescribed at 5 mg, one to three hours before a chemotherapy treatment and every two to four hours after chemotherapy, up to six doses per day.
The most common physical side effects of marinol include asthenia (lack of energy), stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, racing heart rate, facial flushing, and dizziness. The most common psychological side effects of marinol include anxiety, sleepiness, confusion, hallucinations, and paranoia. This medication should therefore be used with caution in persons who have a mental-health diagnosis, particularly depression, mood swings, schizophrenia, or substance abuse. When prescribed for those people, the individual is usually under the care of a psychiatrist.
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