Marijuana (Cannabis)

Marijuana (Cannabis)

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?
  • Sleepiness
  • 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

February 2020