Medical Definition of Marijuana

Our Marijuana Main Article provides a comprehensive look at the who, what, when and how of Marijuana

Marijuana: A common street and recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant: the hemp plant cannabis sativa. The pharmacologically active ingredient in marijuana is tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC). Marijuana is used to heighten perception, affect mood, and relax. Many people think marijuana is harmless, but it is not. Signs of marijuana use include red eyes, lethargy, and uncoordinated body movements. The long-term effects may include decrease in motivation and harmful effects on the brain, heart, lungs, and reproductive system. People who smoke marijuana are also at increased risk of developing cancer of the head and neck. A pharmaceutical product, Marinol, that contains synthetic THC, is available as a prescription medication. It comes in the form of a pill (eliminating the harmful and cancer-causing chemicals present when marijuana is smoked) and is used to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to treat loss of appetite in AIDS patients.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.


Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors