Facts You Should Know About Marijuana - DHS 4494

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

MARIJUANA (Cannabis)

Cannabis is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. This mixture is most commonly known as marijuana, and it affects the areas in the brain responsible for movement and memory. It is the most often used illegal drug in the United States. Marijuana in its smoked form has no commonly accepted medical use. However, the active chemical in marijuana is manufactured into a pill available by prescription. This prescription drug is used to treat the nausea and vomiting that occur with certain cancer treatments and to help AIDS patients eat more to keep up their weight.

Slang Terms:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Grass
  • Sinsemilla
  • Dope
  • Ganja
  • Mary Jane
  • Aunt Mary
  • Boom
  • Gangster
  • Chronic
  • Reefer
  • Kif
  • Hash
  • Skunk

Methods of Intake:

Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a joint. Marijuana can also be smoked in a water pipe called a bong, mixed into food, or brewed as tea.


Marijuana alters chemicals in the pleasure circuit of the brain. It can cause a calm euphoria as well as fits of laughter.


Marijuana can trigger a number of negative effects. After an extended period of marijuana use, a user may experience withdrawal , depression, fatigue, and a lack of motivation. The user's grooming habits may become careless, and relationships with family members and friends may become hostile and begin to deteriorate.

Side Effects:

  • Problems with memory and learning - Blood shot eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Distorted perception-sight, sound, time, touch
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble with thinking and problem solving - Intense Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Breathing problems



If you would like to know what substance abuse treatment providers are in your community, contact one of the following helplines:

  • 1-800-662-HELP
  • 1-800-662-9832 (Espanol)
  • 1-800-228-0427 (TTY)

If you have any questions about alcohol or other drugs, call:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

  • 1-866-213-0548 (toll-free Voice)
  • 1-866-843-7344 (toll-free TTY)

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions.

If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:

  • 1-800-843-6154
  • 1-866-324-5553 (TTY)

You may speak to a representative between: 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays).

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Customer and Provider Assistance
100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62762

Visit our web site at: www.dhs.state.il.us

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4494 (R-03-14) Drug Series - Marijuana

Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.

200 copies P.O.#14-1082