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Article Summary

How Is Marijuana Taken?

Marijuana is the drug of choice for people trying narcotics for the first time in the United States. In this article, we take a look at how marijuana is taken by people who use it.


Drug usage in the United States has stabilized or dropped off for all illegal narcotics over the last 10 years with one exception - marijuana. The use of marijuana, particularly by first time drug users, has increased between eight and ten percent over the same period of time. This is particularly troubling since the vast majority of first time users are kids in their teens. Regardless, let's take a look at how those abusing marijuana actually take it in to their bodies.


In its natural form, marijuana is a leafy plant. There is a male and female version of it. The male plant is used to fertilize female plants, but only the female plant is harvested with the intention of using it as a drug.

The process of harvesting female marijuana plants is similar to how tobacco is processed in many ways. The female plant is picked at a point when its "buds" are at their largest growth. Buds are the closed flowers or fruit of the female plant. When fertilized by the male plant, the buds produce collections of seeds. Marijuana growers, however, do not allow fertilization to occur and instead pick and dry the buds. These buds are then sold and smoked by users.

The most common approach to smoking marijuana is in the form of a rolled cigarette. Known as a "joint" or "spliff", an user will buy tobacco rolling papers and then fill then roll the cigarettes with marijuana instead of tobacco. Alternatively, a person might buy commercial cigarettes such as Marlboros and then replace all or part of the tobacco with marijuana to create a filtered joint.

The second most common approach to smoking marijuana is to use a pipe of one sort or another. The simplest of pipes are small, wooden tobacco pipes repurposed for smoking this drug. There are, however, marijuana specific pipes of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most common of these is the water pipe, known in slang as a "bong."

The bong is typically either a glass or plastic pipe containing a small water tank within it. The marijuana is placed in a small bowl connected to the water tank. The user then places their mouth on an opening located on the other side of the water tank. When the marijuana is lit in the bowl, the user breathes in and sucks the smoke through the water and into their lungs. This process filters and cools the harsh smoke, creating less injury to the mouth and throat of the person smoking the substance.


While smoking is far and away the most commonly used approach to taking marijuana, adding it to food is an alternative more than a few users will try at one point or another. Although a plant, the leaves and buds of the female marijuana plant are not consumed on their own due to their horrific taste. Instead, users will typically add the shredded buds and leaves as an ingredient to foods with strong flavors that mask the taste of the drug.

Brownies are a classic example of a food marijuana can be used as an ingredient in. The strong taste of the brownie masks the drug, which can actually lead to significant health risks for individuals eating the food.

Unlike with smoking marijuana, it can be difficult to ascertain the size of the dosage of marijuana in brownies or any other food. Users often can effectively overdose by unintentionally ingesting too much of the drug. This is particularly true when the food is a treat of some sort such as a brownie. A person under the influence can develop a heighted hunger which is common with marijuana. Instead of eating just one brownie, they might eat four or five. The result is a person suffering from severe hallucinations, paranoia and panic. An immediate trip to the emergency room is usually the end result.


A certain niche of marijuana users will take marijuana in the form of hashish. Pronounced "hash-eesh", this form of the drug is very potent. It is made by extracting the potent resigns and chemicals that induce the marijuana high from the buds of the female plant and reducing them to a sticky, tar like substance that can appear similar to heroin. The substance is then smoked, most often in a water pipe.

As with food, the smoking of hashish can often be dangerous. Inexperienced users often fail to properly plan for the potency of the substance and can smoke too much of it. This then leads to a severe reaction with hallucinations, paranoia, poor decision making and potential physical health ramifications. Fortunately, the availability of hashish is limited at best.

In Closing

Study after study has shown marijuana to be the single most common gateway drug in the field of narcotics. Regardless of how it is taken, the usage of the drug is something to avoid at all times.

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