Marijuana and Cannabis & Other Related Compounds

Cannabis sativa contains more than 400 compounds in addition to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Marijuana and Cannabis. Marijuana cigarettes are prepared from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant, and a typical marijuana cigarette contains 0.5 to 1 g of plant material. Hashish is prepared from concentrated resin of Cannabis sativa and contains a THC concentration of 8 and 12% percent by weight. Hash oil,” a fat soluble plant extract, may contain a THC concentration of 25 to 60% and may be added to marijuana or hashish to increase potency. Smoking is the most common form of marijuana or hashish use. During smoking more than 150 compounds in addition to THC are released in the smoke.

Specific cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) have been identified in the central nervous system. High densities of these receptors have been found in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and hippocampus.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. Studies suggest that about 37% of high school students in the United States have used marijuana. Marijuana is relatively inexpensive and is often considered to be less hazardous than other abused drugs and substances, which is why its use is common. A very potent form of marijuana called sinsemilla is now available. Use of marijuana with crack/cocaine and phencyclidine is increased.


Methamphetamine is referred to as “meth,” “chalk,” “ice,” “speed,” “crank,” “glass,” or “crystal” in the street. Methamphetamine use is increasing in the US and other western countries. Methamphetamine can be taken by orally, by smoking, snorting, and intravenous injection. Individuals who abuse or become dependent to methamphetamine report that use of this drug induces feelings of euphoria and decreases fatigue associated with difficult life situations. Headache, difficulty concentrating, diminished appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, disordered sleep, paranoid or aggressive behavior, and psychosis are the adverse effects. Dental caries is seen with chronic use and symptoms are blackened, rotting, crumbling teeth. Life-threatening methamphetamine toxicity may present as high blood pressure, heart failure, subarachnoid hemorrhage, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, convulsions, and coma.

Lysergic Acid Dietylamide (LSD)

LSD is a very potent drug; 20 microgram can induce profound psychological and physiologic effects. Effects of LSD may persist for 12 to 18 hours. Visual illusions, and extreme change of mood, usually occur within 30 min after LSD intake. Tolerance develops rapidly for LSD-induced changes in psychological function when the drug is used one or more times per day for more than 4 days. Withdrawal symptoms are absent with LSD. There have been no reports of death caused by the direct effects of LSD.

Panic episode is the most frequent acute medical emergency, which may persist up to 24 hours. Supportive reassurance and, if necessary, administration of small doses of anxiolytic drugs is the management for the problem.



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