Student Health and Wellness Services

Cannabis (marijuana)

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant. It can also be made into concentrated forms put into oils, butter, and a sticky substance called “wax” or “shatter.”

It first grew in Asia and has thousands of years of history of human use. It is the most commonly used illicit drug.

Cannabis is most commonly smoked or vaped but it can also be consumed in products called “edibles.”

Cannabis has over 400 identified chemical compounds. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis: this chemical affects the mind and gets people ‘high.’ THC and other chemical compounds that do not cause psychoactive effects, like CBD, are all referred to as cannabinoids.

These mimic chemicals that are produced naturally in the brain as part of our endocannabinoid system.

The Effects of Cannabis

People who use cannabis report short-term benefits like:
  • Relaxation and calm
  • Stimulation or increased creativity
  • Helping treat pain and anxiety, or encouraging appetite in cancer patients
Someone experiencing the short-term effects of cannabis:
  • may laugh more easily
  • may take a longer time to respond or seem distracted
  • may feel nauseated, have mild hallucinations, or become paranoid at higher doses
Potential risks and harms of cannabis
  • The effects of cannabis are sometimes hard to predict, and depend very heavily on the dose, the way it’s consumed and even the strain (type of cannabis plant).
  • People can take too much cannabis and experience very uncomfortable highs and/or panic.
  • Prolonged or habitual cannabis use can make mental health problems worse. Researchers are particularly concerned about the ways in which cannabis use could impact teenage brains, especially in people who start using it before age 18.
  • Sometimes synthetic cannabinoids—which can cause shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and sometimes death—are sold as cannabis.
Please complete this form if you would like to talk with a health educator about cannabis and other drugs