Out of all the drugs in use in the USA today, marijuana is, without question, the most well-known. There are a few reasons for this, from its prolific appearances in all entertainment, such as film and television. More importantly, however, is the fact that despite is status as an illegal drug Federally, at the state level, some states have legalized medical and even recreational use of marijuana.
As a result, marijuana is a wide-spread drug, whether it is being used legally or illegally, so we’re going to cover some of the facts about this drug, and why you should test for it.
How It Is Consumed
There are a variety of ways to ingest marijuana. The most common is similar to that of cigarettes, where, like tobacco, it is rolled up in a piece of paper, that paper is lit, and it is smoked. It can also be used in a pipe, again, in the same way tobacco is. It can even be smoked using water, in a tool known as a “bong,” and, like cigarettes again, it can also be vaporized, or “vaped.” Another popular method of ingestion is as a food ingredient, so it is swallowed often in baked goods like cookies or brownies.
Depending the form of consumption, marijuana can take effect in just a few minutes, as is the case with smoking, or start to work after a few hours, but with more potency, which is the trade-off with oral ingestion.
Compared to some other drugs, such as cocaine or LSD, marijuana is sometimes considered a “milder” drug in terms of effects. The intense euphoria of stronger drugs like heroin is reduced to a state of peaceful well-being or relaxation. Hunger, also known as “the munchies,” is a common effect.
This doesn’t mean, however, that marijuana is harmless. Like nicotine and alcohol, marijuana brings with it some negative side-effects. The feeling of relaxation can turn into intense anxiety or paranoia. And, like alcohol, marijuana can physically impair reflexes, slowing down reaction time. There are also long term negative effects from overuse, like decreased cognitive performance, resulting in poor thinking and memory, and subsequently poor grades, if still in school.
This is why, even in states where marijuana is legal, including marijuana as part of a 5-panel drug test is still important. In the same way, you wouldn’t want employees to show up on the job drunk, neither do you want employees to go to work while high.