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Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance in the world today. Its use is also the most controversial. With legalization efforts underway, it is important to have the facts. Marijuana is currently legal in some form in eleven states in the U.S. Other states are evaluating legalization. Some cities have legalized marijuana like Brekenridge, Colorado, however, the state of Colorado nor the Federal Government has legalized the growing or use of marijuana.

Marijuana is made from the plant cannabis sativa, a plant that grows wild (and is also cultivated indoors and out) throughout many regions. Most of the marijuana used in the United States comes from sources in the U.S., Mexico ("Mexican Red/Brown"), and Canada ("BC Bud").

Marijuana consists of the buds, leaves, and resin of the cannabis plant. The stalks and sterilized seeds are considered "hemp." The plant, cannabis sativa, contains chemicals called "cannabinoids."

THC (delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid believed to be responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

THC can be found in all parts of the cannabis plant, including hemp. This is why hemp is regulated carefully - some hemp products such as clothing, rope, yarn, lotion and soap are legal products because they do not cause THC to enter the human body.

"While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, have been found to contain THC. The existence of THC in hemp is significant because THC, like marijuana, is a schedule I controlled substance."
(Source: DEA)

"Smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco. Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. It also produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their carcinogenic form - levels that may accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells." (Source: NIDA)

For more information regarding drugs and their effects, please visit www.dea.gov.

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