Public Health Fact Sheet
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a common plant also known as “grass”, “pot”, “weed”. It can be hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes (joints), loose marijuana (smoked in pipes), hashish (condensed forms of marijuana that look like small balls of tar or dark clay).
What are the short-term effects of using marijuana?
- Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short term memory
- Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
- Increased heart rate
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth and throat
- Decreased social inhibitions
- Paranoia, hallucinations
What are the long-term effects of using marijuana?
- Enhanced cancer risk, increased risk of chronic pulmonary disorders
- Decreases in testosterone levels for men; also lower sperm counts and decreased fertility
- Increase in testosterone levels for women; also increased risk of infertility
- Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
- Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
- Short-term memory loss
Can marijuana affect pregnancy?
- Using marijuana during pregnancy creates risks for the unborn child. It reduces oxygen supply to the fetus. It also causes miscarriages and low birth weight. A woman who is pregnant, considering pregnancy or breastfeeding should not use marijuana.
Additional information is available on the CDC website at