Written and Fact Checked by S. Zulfiqar
Generally, there’s no difference between marijuana and cannabis. They are both two different terms used for the same thing. They are used to refer to cannabis products that are made or derived from the flowers (that are dried), stems, leaves, and seeds, etc., of the same old cannabis plant.
Marijuana or simply weed remains the most commonly used drug in the entire US. It is said that alcohol is the most widely used drug for recreational use. Between 70-80 million people in the US have believed to have consumed cannabis at some point in their lives. That means that more than half of the United States population have, let’s say, at least once tried consuming it.
With so many users worldwide, it’s not surprising that the plant must have some (if not a lot) excellent properties. Let’s learn about what they are and what weed looks like, how it smells, what it does to our bodies after we consume it and what its effects are.
Let’s start from the top
Marijuana is commonly called weed, pot, grass, plant, greens, or ganja, and they all somehow mean the same thing – they all come from the cannabis plant; hence they’re of the same family.
The cannabis plant is a common plant that natively grows in many different areas of the world. It’s a leafy green plant that carries trichomes all over itself. Trichomes are tiny white (sometimes powder-like) hair covering the entire plant, especially the leaves and its stem. It’s a plant that produces flowers that are responsible for the ‘high.’ The mind-altering compound is called THC. This chemical compound is what makes this plant psychoactive, and that’s the reason why tons of people around the world consume it daily.
To consume the plant or the goodness, the flowers, along with the leaves, need to be thoroughly dried. Consider this the first step. When completely dried, they start to appear dark green. The clusters can be put to use after they are dried. They can be used to inhale (or smoke), or there are other ways by which we can intake them.
The term marijuana or weed also refers to the smoking cigarettes that contain the plant. The most popular ways of smoking weed are cannabis-filled cigarettes, joints (cannabis rolled in rolling papers), bongs, and classic pipes.
The other way of consuming the plants is to take the cannabis by baking them into something sweet or otherwise, or you can just boil them and drink the water as we boil our tea.
Another essential thing to know is that there’s a massive difference between THC and CBD. You would probably have heard about CBD already, as it has gained a lot of attention, especially in the past several years. Other than THC, Cannabidiol is the other primary compound that’s found in the cannabis plant. This compound is commonly known as CBD.
However, there seems to be a bit of confusion between the two compounds. Although they are different since they come from the same plant, people sometimes confuse these two terms. CBD is purely a non-psychoactive compound. That means that using CBD would not make you high. At all. There are plenty of medical benefits of CBD, which is why it’s being used in many hospitals worldwide. Of course, it still faces some legal issues. Still, as time is passing by, the awareness is increasing, and scientific studies are backing up the theories of CBD being highly beneficial for humans suffering from various conditions. The typical examples of CBD are CBD Oils and tinctures that are pretty commonly available for sale online and in walk-in stores and pharmacies.
On the other hand, THC is also being used medically, but since it originally is a psychoactive compound, it causes the ‘high’ that everybody keeps talking about.
Using weed has various effects on our brains and our bodies. Short-term effects include the impact on attention, memory, and decision-making skills. The long-term effects include laughter, relaxation, euphoric feelings, delayed reaction time, and an increase in appetite.
How it stays in our system depends and varies from person to person. On average, its use can only be detected in a blood test when consumed less than 36 hours ago. If you’ve gone past that time, you might want to hesitate while going for a blood test. However, the collection of urine samples can do the trick for the authorities to detect drug use in urine as it stays much longer in the system like that. So as far as the urine is concerned, it usually takes between 3 to 30 days for the marijuana to leave your body.
Now comes the part where We Learn What Weed Looks Like
The typical cannabis is like dried leaves of anything. Think of dried tea leaves; yes, the cannabis leaves look a bit like them. They are usually greenish or brown. Hashish, however, is made from plant resin. Depending upon multiple factors like the weather and the temperature, it is sometimes solid and sometimes in paste-like form and usually in a much darker, brown, or black colour.
Other concentrates like oil, shatter, dabs, or wax come from the plant and are usually waxy. Again, depending upon the storage conditions and environments, they can also be pasty but are generally of a much lighter colour like yellow, brown or rusty, amber coloured.
Now that you are entirely aware of what weed is and what it looks like, you will not have problems recognizing it the next time you see it anywhere around, including your colleague’s drawer or in one of the pockets of one of your weed-buddy.
- Atakan Z. Cannabis, a complex plant: Different compounds and different effects on individuals. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Dec; 2(6): 241–254.
- Baker D, Pryce G, Giovannoni G, and Thompson AJ. The therapeutic potential of cannabis. Lancet Neurol. 2003 May;2(5):291-8.