Legalization of marijuana for medical use or adult recreational use in a growing number of states may affect these views.
People smoke cannabis in hand-rolled joints, pre-rolled cones, or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). They also smoke it in blunts—emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. To avoid inhaling smoke, some people are using vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients (including THC and/or CBD) from the cannabis and collect their vapour in a storage unit. A person then inhales the vapour, not the smoke. Some vaporizers use a liquid cannabis extracts.
People can mix cannabis in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. Tinctures are consumed sublingually or mixed into food and drinks. A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins.
Today, cannabis technology and research have created a new line of extracts that remove the psychotropic effects of cannabis, like Cannabidiol (CBD). More people can now experience the healing effects of cannabis without getting high.
Extracts & Concentrates
Smoking THC-rich resins extracted from the cannabis plant is rising. People call this practice dabbing. These extracts come in various forms, such as:
- shatter—a hard, amber-colored solid
- hash oil or honey oil—a gooey liquid
- wax or budder—a soft solid with a texture like lip balm
Extracts can deliver extremely large amounts of THC to the body, causing convulsive coughing, uncontrolled drooling and has sent some people to the emergency room.
Another danger is in preparing these extracts, which usually involves butane (lighter fluid). A number of amateur people have caused fires and explosions and have been seriously burned from using butane to make extracts at home.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Cannabis use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it’s causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use cannabis may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.1 People who begin using cannabis before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder.2
Many people who use cannabis long term and are trying to quit report mild withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. These include:
- decreased appetite
For adult use only. This product should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Cannabis may impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. In some cases, cannabis may improve concentration, coordination, and judgement.
- Do not drive, operate machinery, or perform other hazardous activities while using cannabis. It may cause dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.
- Do not drink alcohol while using cannabis. Alcohol will increase dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.
- Cannabis may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, seizure medicines, and muscle relaxants.
- Cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
No medications are currently available to treat marijuana use disorder, but behavioural support has been shown to be effective. Examples include therapy and motivational incentives (providing rewards to patients who remain drug-free). Continuing research may lead to new medications that help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.
- Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry.2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.
- Winters KC, Lee C-YS. Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: association with recent use and age. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008;92(1-3):239-247. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.08.005.