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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Marijuana, also known as 'pot', 'grass', 'weed', or 'dope' is a drug made from the hemp plant. It's usually dried and smoked in a pipe or rolled into a cigarette called a 'joint' or 'reefer.' Marijuana affects people differently. For some, it seems to function as a stimulant, making them more outgoing and happy. For others, it appears to act as a depressant, causing them to feel relaxed and sleepy. These effects can occur within minutes and last for an hour or longer. Smoking marijuana can cause a faster heartbeat, a dry throat and mouth, bloodshot eyes, and inflammation of the lungs and airways. It often increases in appetite and can alter motor skills, causing slight clumsiness. Most people will experience a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, but some first-time users undergo an acute panic reaction in which they feel they're losing control. However, the panic usually subsides within a few hours. Heavy use among teens may lead to impaired learning, problem solving, and comprehension skills, and smoking marijuana during pregnancy exposes the fetus to the drug, and increases the possibility of miscarriage, stillbirth, and low birth weight. For more information about marijuana, consult a health care professional in your area.

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