What is “High”? A Look at the Legalization of “Marijuana”

What is “High”? A Look at the Legalization of “Marijuana” 

mar·i·jua·na1 noun

1: hemp

2: the dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp plant that yield THC and are sometimes smoked in cigarettes for their intoxicating effect”1

The term marijuana, also known as pot, grass, and weed, refers to the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the other related compounds.2 It is the most common illicit drug used in the United States and therefore the identification, prosecution and conviction of court cases involving “marijuana” has put an astronomical strain on government resources. The potential gain in tax dollars by legalizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use has led to several states adopting or at least voting on laws allowing the legalization of its sale and use.


“Colorado made $2 million in tax revenue from the state’s 59 recreational marijuana businesses this January.”3,4

But what are some of the costs of legalization?  There may be an incorrect perception that legalization of the use of marijuana equates to complete safety.  This would be an incorrect belief. The use of “marijuana” elicits psychoactive effects (which also happens to lend to some of the desired effects) and leads to: impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory. All of these effects can impair a person’s judgment including the decision to drive a motor vehicle or embark on safety sensitive functions. Addiction is also a real possibility with continued use, as with most other drugs of abuse. Cessation after long-term use of marijuana can result in intense withdrawal symptoms including:  irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving.

Stay tuned as we examine the legal levels of “marijuana” and it’s active compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in blood and what that means….


  1. “Marijuana.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marijuana
  2. DrugFacts: Marijuana. National Institute for Drug Abuse. Accessed 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
  3. Colorado Marijuana Tax Data. Department of Revenue. Accessed 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-Main/XRM/1251633259746
  4. Colorado Recreational Marijuana Tax Revenue Hits $2M in First Month. IVN. Accessed 18 Mar. 2014. http://ivn.us/2014/03/15/colorado-recreational-marijuana-tax-revenue-hits-2m-first-month/

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