Not Just A Plant

Not Just A Plant was created by Safe Communities Regional Coalition of Hunterdon and Somerset, Prevention Resources, Inc. and then expanded by partners such as the Drug-Free Task Force and Positive YOUth, to educate our community on the most recent scientific data regarding marijuana use, and how marijuana use impacts various sectors of our society.  We are working to provide information to youth, parents, business owners, local legislators, school faculty members, and the community at large with the goal of helping our community make informed decisions about marijuana.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, which can also be called cannabis, weed, pot, or dope, refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant.

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 compounds (or cannabinoids). These compounds include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is impairing or mind-altering, as well as other active compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD). 

What is THC?

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant. Around 20 different THC cannabinoids have been discovered so far. The most researched THC cannabinoids are delta 9, delta 8, delta 10, THCA, THCV, THC-O, and THC-P.

Delta 8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant but is not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. As a result, concentrated amounts of delta 8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

Methods of use

Smoking

Such as joints, blunts and bongs.

Edibles

Made with marijuana leaves or high potency cannabis extracts.

Vaping

This includes synthetic marijuana using vaporizing devices.

Concentrates

Products that have been extracted from the plant. Includes products such as dabs, wax & shatter.

Health Risks

Marijuana Use Disorder

Approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder.1 Some signs and symptoms of marijuana use disorder include trying but failing to quit using marijuana or giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana. The risk of developing marijuana use disorder is stronger in people who start using marijuana during youth or adolescence and who use marijuana more frequently.

Organ Health

Marijuana use directly affects brain function—specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time. Developing brains, such as those in babies, children, and teenagers, are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of marijuana and THC.

Marijuana can make the heart beat faster and can make blood pressure higher immediately after use. It could also lead to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

Smoked marijuana, regardless of how it is smoked, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels.

Mental Health

People who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations, and paranoia) and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia (a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that are not really there).2

Unintentional poisonings

Consuming marijuana can make children and pets very sick. Since marijuana use has been legalized in some states, unintentional poisonings in children have increased, with some instances requiring emergency medical care.

If you use marijuana products, keep them in childproof containers and out of the reach of children. For additional questions, you can contact your healthcare provider, your health department, your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or 911 if it’s an emergency.

Parents Hold the Key

Learn more about safe storage of cannabis and other substances on our Parents Hold The Key webpage.

Marijuana as Medicine

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the cannabis plant for any medical use. However, the FDA has approved several drugs that contain individual cannabinoids.3

Epidiolex, which contains a purified form of CBD. The prescription medication is approved for treating seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome) as well as seizures associated with a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis complex.

Marinol and Syndros, which contain dronabinol (synthetic THC), and Cesamet, which contains nabilone (a synthetic substance similar to THC), are approved by the FDA. Dronabinol and nabilone are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Dronabinol is also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS.