An Overview of the Marijuana Drug Test
Marijuana is abused around the world and extensively in the United States. Since it is legal in some places, some people think it is safe. Remember selling, possession or using marijuana is still illegal under Federal law. Drug testing for marijuana or THC is a topic that comes up just about every day in our office. There are many reasons why an individual or an employer might need a marijuana drug test. This page will explore marijuana; what it is, what are the effects of marijuana, and all about drug testing process for marijuana. You can order a marijuana drug test today – Click Here.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana consists of the dried flowers of the plant called Cannabis sativa. THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana that causes the high or intoxication. The chemical is found in the resin produced by the leaves and buds of the plant along with over 500 additional chemicals many that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.
Marijuana started as an herbal medicine many centuries ago. In America, the cannabis plant was used early on to grow hemp for textiles and rope. Around the early 1900s, marijuana was used in the United States as a recreational drug. Mexican immigrants introduced the practice of smoking marijuana to get high. In 1937, the Federal government passed the first Federal law to make criminalize marijuana.
Starting in the mid-1960s, marijuana became the most popular drug among college students. We often hear of older folks saying, “yeah, I only smoked pot back in college.” Under President Richard Nixon, in 1970, marijuana became a Schedule 1 drug, listed with no medical uses and a high potential for abuse. Even with the drug being illegal, marijuana flourished throughout the 1970s and the drug seemed very commonplace. President Jimmy Carter called for the decriminalization of marijuana, but many parents were concerned about their kids’ use of this intoxicating drug.
Today, marijuana is commonly used in the United States with many States having medical marijuana laws and/or recreational marijuana laws. The Federal government reports that over 22.2 million Americans have used marijuana in the past month. The majority of these marijuana users are adolescents and young adults. Smoking marijuana often starts in middle school, and very often students in the 8th grade are smoking marijuana.
California was the first State to permit medical marijuana, today over half of our States have medical marijuana laws. Many of these medical marijuana laws, like in Florida, only allow the use of the chemical cannabidiol or CBD, which does not cause a high. Drug testing is looking for THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), which is what creates the mind-altering effects or the high. This is also what classifies marijuana as a controlled substance or drug.
Colorado was the first State to permit recreational marijuana in early 2014. Many states have followed and now many Americans have legal access to what they call a pleasurable harmless drug. Studies show marijuana in 1965 had 3% THC and in 2015 it has 99% THC, this is pot that is 33 times stronger. In Colorado, studies are showing a significant increase in marijuana use among 12- to 17-year-olds. The Colorado medical and recreational marijuana laws have made smoking pot more socially acceptable for kids. Good news for employers, the courts in Colorado have upheld employers’ rights to implement a drug-free workplace, including drug testing for marijuana. We see workplace drug testing on the rise in Colorado.
What are the Effects of Marijuana?
Pot smokers are out to get a feeling of relaxation and euphoria but may end up with anxiety and paranoia. Long-term use can lead to negative cognitive effects relating to space and time perceptions as well as a lack of motivation.
We know that today’s marijuana is much more potent than years ago. The levels of THC are higher. Research shows some alarming negative effects such as increased risk of heart attack, increased car crash risk or increased mental illness, schizophrenia, and psychosis. Studies show that kids who smoke marijuana are very likely to move on to heroin or cocaine.
Marijuana Short-Term Effects
- Short-term memory problems
- Severe anxiety, including fear that one is being watched or followed (paranoia)
- Lowered reaction time
- Loss of sense of personal identity
Marijuana Long-Term Effects
- Poor school performance and higher chance of dropping out
- Antisocial behavior including stealing money or lying
- Impaired thinking and ability to learn and perform complex tasks