What Is It?

Marijuana is a mixture of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa plant. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). When someone smokes marijuana, THC goes from the lungs into the bloodstream, and then into the brain and other organs. THC affects the nerve cells that control sensory perception, pleasure, thinking, memory, coordination, and concentration.

Short-Term Effects:

  • Trouble thinking and problem solving
  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Loss of coordination
  • Distorted perception
  • An increased appetite
  • Feeling lightheaded or drowsy
  • Decrease in inhibitions
  • Paranoia

Long-Term Effects:

  • Changes in the brain
  • Fertility issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Immune system problems
  • Emotional problems such as depression and anxiety

Legal Consequences

Marijuana use in North Carolina is illegal. The type of charge a person receives depends on various factors such as how much marijuana was in their possession, if they were caught selling, or if they were caught growing marijuana. Legal consequences in North Carolina range from a $200 fine and no jail time to a $200,000 fine and 222 months (18.5 years) imprisonment.

 Did You Know?

  • 30% of those who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder or addiction
  • People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder
  • 37% of North Carolina high school students in 2017 report they’ve used marijuana one or more times in their life
  • 11.8% of 8th graders in the U.S. in 2019 reported marijuana use in the past year 
  • 28.8% of 10th graders in the U.S. in 2019 reported marijuana use in the past year
  • 35.7% of 12th graders in the U.S. in 2019 reported marijuana use in the past year
  • High school seniors who smoke marijuana are two times more likely to receive a traffic ticket and 65% more likely to get into an accident than other teens


Nemours TeensHealth

National Institute on Drug Abuse

NORML Foundation

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens

Wayne Teens Home