A project of the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center. Partially funded by the National Library of Medicine
Fact Sheets can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.aidsinfonet.org
AIDS InfoNet www.aidsinfonet.org
Fact Sheet Number 731
WHAT IS MARIJUANA?
Marijuana or Cannabis sativa is an herb.
It grows in many places around the world.
It is also called hemp, reefer, or cannabis.
It has had many uses in different cultures.
reducing pain and
increasing appetite. Marijuana contains
chemicals called cannabinoids. The best
known is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
The marijuana “high” is mainly due to
Marijuana was used medically in the US
until the late 1930s. Then there were
claims of “reefer madness.” Supposedly,
insanity, and death. In 1970, US drug law
classified marijuana as having a high
potential for abuse and no medical use.
Marijuana was later found to have other
health benefits. It can lower pressure
within the eye. This helps treat glaucoma,
an eye disease which can cause
nausea and vomiting in patients taking
chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It
reduces muscle spasms in people with
nerve problems like multiple sclerosis and
can help treat some types of pain. These
uses led to the development of the drug
dronabinol (Marinol®), a synthetic version
generally forbid the sale or possession
of marijuana. Twelve states have
passed “medical marijuana” laws that
permit limited use for health reasons.
However, in May 2001 the US Supreme
Court ruled that medical use of
marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Federal officials can
against medical marijuana users or
“buyers’ clubs” even in states with
information on state medical marijuana
WHY DO PEOPLE WITH