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Summary sheet: Cannabis
Drawing of Cannabis sativa
Chemical Nomenclature
Common names Cannabis, Marijuana, Weed, Pot, Mary Jane, Grass, Herb, "Devil's Lettuce", "Jazz Tobacco"
Routes of Administration

WARNING: Always start with lower doses due to differences between individual body weight, tolerance, metabolism, and personal sensitivity. See responsible use section.

*Depends on potency, tolerance and route of administration.
Threshold 0.025 - 0.033 g
Light 0.033 - 0.066 g
Common 0.066 - 0.1 g
Strong 0.1 - 0.15 g
Heavy 0.15 g +
Total 1 - 4 hours
Onset 0 - 10 minutes
Peak 15 - 30 minutes
After effects 45 - 180 minutes
Threshold mg
Common 5 - 10 mg (THC)
Total 4 - 10 hours
Onset 30 - 120 minutes
Peak 2 - 5 hours
After effects 6 - 12 hours

DISCLAIMER: PW's dosage information is gathered from users and resources for educational purposes only. It is not a recommendation and should be verified with other sources for accuracy.

Cannabis (colloquially known as Marijuana,[1] Weed,[2] Pot,[3], Grass,[4] Herb,[5] and many other names) is a preparation of the cannabis plant that produces various psychoactive effects when consumed. It is typically taken by smoking or oral ingestion.[6][7]

Though the number of species within the genus is disputed, three species may be recognized: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. The genus is indigenous to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.[8]

Pharmacologically, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes up one of 483 known compounds in the plant,[9] including at least 84 other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV),[10][11] and cannabigerol (CBG).

The earliest recorded uses of cannabis date from the 3rd millennium BC.[12] In modern times, cannabis is used both recreationally or medicinally, and as part of religious or spiritual rites.[citation needed]

Since the early 20th century, cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions with the possession, use, and sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids currently illegal in most countries of the world. According to a United Nations report, cannabis is the most used illicit drug in the world.[13][14] In 2004, the U.N. estimated that global consumption patterns of cannabis indicated that approximately 4% of the adult world population (162 million people) used cannabis annually and that approximately 0.6% (22.5 million) of people used cannabis daily.[15]


Cannabis plants contain a number of different specific compounds at various ratios. Cannabis contains more than 460 compounds;[16] at least 80 of these are cannabinoids,[17][18] chemical compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the brain.[19] The most common of these are listed below:


  • CBN (Cannabinol)
  • CBG (Cannabigerol)
  • CBC (Cannabichromene)
  • CBL (Cannabicyclol)
  • CBV (Cannabivarin)
  • THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
  • CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
  • CBCV (Cannabichromevarin)
  • CBGV (Cannabigerovarin)
  • CBGM (Cannabigerol Monomethyl Ether)


The most psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), commonly known as THC.[20] Other cannabinoids include delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG); they have less psychotropic effects than THC, but may play a role in the overall effect of cannabis.[21] The most studied are THC, CBD and CBN.[22]

THC appears to alter mood and cognition through its agonist actions on the CB1 receptors, which inhibit a secondary messenger system (adenylate cyclase) in a dose dependent manner. Via CB1 activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects. Cannabidiol acts as an allosteric modulator of the mu and delta opioid receptors.[23] THC also potentiates the effects of the glycine receptors.[24] However, the role of these interactions and how they result in the cannabis high remains subject to on-going scientific investigation.

Subjective effects

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. The listed effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death.

Physical effects

Visual effects

Cognitive effects

Auditory effects

Multi-sensory effects

Experience reports

Anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index include:

Additional experience reports can be found here:


  • Psychedelics - When combined with psychedelics, both the visual and cognitive effects of cannabis can be intensified and extended with exceptional efficiency. This should be used with extreme caution, particularly if one is not experienced with psychedelics, as this can also amplify the anxiety, confusion and psychosis triggering aspects of psychedelics significantly. Due to this, it is generally advised to avoid in taking cannabis before well after the peak has passed to avoid triggering an overwhelming experience. Many users report that cannabis is effective at briefly recreating the peak of the experience if consumed during the come down phase.
  • Dissociatives - When combined with dissociatives, the dissociation, derealization, visuals, euphoria and other hallucinatory effects are typically greatly enhanced. Dissociative-induced holes, spaces, and voids while under the influence of THC have significantly more vivid visuals than dissociatives alone, as well as more intense internal hallucinations, and corresponding confusion which can spontaneously manifest as delusions and psychosis.
  • Depressants - When combined with depressants such as benzodiazepines or opioids, the hallucinogenic aspects of cannabis become minimized. Instead, the focus shifts to bodily sensations, such as muscle relaxation, sedation, information processing suppression, and anxiety suppression.
    • Alcohol - When combined with alcohol, cannabis often creates feelings of extreme nausea, double vision, dizziness and changes in gravity. It is generally recommended that people take the cannabis before drinking and not the other way around as this is reported to induce these effects less readily.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - SSRIs can suppress anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia while on cannabis and make for a pleasant and calm experience. Examples of SSRIs include citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine.
  • Stimulants - When combined with stimulants, cannabis tends to increase their thought accelerating, immersion enhancing and euphoric effects, particularly as it relates to one's appreciation of music and sexual pleasure. This combination should be used with caution, however, as it can easily and unpredictably lead to states of anxiety, paranoia, confusion, delusions, and psychosis.

Strains and forms


Types of cannabis

Sativa and indica are the two major types of cannabis plants which can mix together to create hybrid strains. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind, resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits.

Indica plants typically grow short and wide compared to sativa plants which grow tall and thin. Indica plants are better suited for indoor growing because of their short growth and sativa plants are better suited for outdoor growing because some strains can reach over 25 ft. in height.

The high produced from smoking indica bud is a strong physical "body high" that will make one sleepy or sedated and provides a deep relaxation feeling compared to a sativa high, which is known to be more energetic and uplifting.

Marijuana strains range from pure sativas to pure indicas with hybrid strains consisting of both indica and sativa (for example, 30% indica – 70% sativa, 50% – 50% combinations, or 80% indica – 20% sativa). Because sativa and indica buds have very different medicinal benefits and effects, certain strains can be targeted to better treat specific illnesses.



Consumption methods

Cannabis is consumed in many different ways:[54]

  • Smoking typically involves inhaling vaporized cannabinoids ("smoke") from small pipes, bongs (portable versions of hookahs with water chamber), paper-wrapped joints, tobacco-leaf-wrapped blunts, and other items.[55]
  • Vaporizers heat herbal cannabis to 165–190 °C (329–374 °F), causing the active ingredients to evaporate into a vapor without burning the plant material (the boiling point of THC is 157 °C (315 °F) at 760 mmHg pressure).[56]
  • Cannabis tea contains relatively small concentrations of THC because THC is an oil (lipophilic) and is only slightly water-soluble (with a solubility of 2.8 mg per liter).[57] Cannabis tea is made by first adding a saturated fat to hot water (e.g., cream or any milk except skim) with a small amount of cannabis.[58]
  • Edibles are cannabis added as an ingredient to one of a variety of foods.
  • Sublingual/buccal consumption typically involves the absorption of cannabinoids through the membranes inside the mouth (usually through a candy or tincture).
  • Tincture
  • Topical consumption typically involves the use of either a cream or lip balm containing cannabinoids absorbed through the skin.

Preparation methods

Preparation methods for this compound within our tutorial index include:

Potentiation methods

Mangoes contain a purportedly psychoactive monoterpene known as myrcene.[citation needed] Myrcene is abundantly present in cannabis and is secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD.[citation needed]

There are numerous anecdotal reports on the internet that claim that myrcene is efficient at potentiating and intensifying the effects of cannabis if ingested approximately 30 to 90 minutes before intoxication. If ingested after intake, it can work by extending the duration of its effects. Both ripe mangoes and certain kinds of mango juice or nectar are said to work effectively.[citation needed] This potentiation is theorized to occur because myrcene, like other terpenes, binds to the THC receptor sites in the brain which affect their chemical output while also modify how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier.[citation needed] This is also accompanied by myrcene's own unique psychoactive effects, which are primarily sedative in nature.[citation needed]

Medical uses

Cannabis is an emerging treatment option for those suffering from many serious diseases, including cancer. Due to its pain relieving, nausea suppressing effects, cannabis can be useful for those undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy.[citation needed] Oral doses of cannabis are more effective in reducing nausea and vomiting[59].

In addition to the anti-nausea effects, the appetite enhancement effects of cannabis can combine with the antiemetic effects and make it more likely that the patient will gain or maintain weight through cancer treatment.[60]

Toxicity and harm potential

Radar plot showing relative physical harm, social harm, and dependence of cannabis[61]

Cannabis is not known to cause brain damage, and has an extremely low toxicity relative to dose. There are relatively few physical side effects associated with acute cannabis exposure. Various studies have shown that in reasonable doses in a careful context, it presents no negative cognitive, psychiatric or toxic physical consequences.

It has often been recommended that those with severe pre-existing mental conditions should not ingest these substances due to the way they strongly amplify the user's current state of mind and emotions. The prolonged usage of THC and other cannabinoids may also increase one's disposition to mental illness and psychosis,[62] particularly in vulnerable individuals with risk factors for psychotic illnesses (like a past or family history of schizophrenia).[63][64][65]

Lethal dosage

No fatal overdoses associated with cannabis use have been reported as of 2010.[66] A review published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in February 2001 said that "no deaths directly due to acute cannabis use have ever been reported."[67]

THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, has an extremely low toxicity and the amount that can enter the body through the consumption of cannabis plants poses no threat of death. In lab animal tests, scientists have had much difficulty administering a dose of THC that is high enough to be lethal. The dose of THC needed to kill 50% of tested rodents is very high,[68] 2.594 mol/kg, about 815.7 grams of THC per kilogram of body weight,[69] and human deaths from overdose are unheard of.[70]

At present, it is estimated that the LD50 of cannabis is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. This means that, in order to induce death, a cannabis smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much cannabis as is contained in one cannabis cigarette. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of cannabis within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response.

It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.

Tolerance and addiction potential

Cannabis is mildly habit-forming. Research has shown the overall addiction potential for cannabis to be less than that for caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, cocaine or heroin, but higher than that for psilocybin, mescaline, or LSD.[71]

Dependence on cannabis is more common amongst heavy users. Cannabis use can lead to increased tolerance[72][73] and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping usage.[74][75][76] Prolonged cannabis usage requires the user to consume higher doses of the substance to achieve a common desirable effect (known as a higher tolerance), and reinforce the body's metabolic systems for synthesizing and eliminating it more efficiently.[77]

Tolerance to many of the effects of cannabis develops with prolonged and repeated use. This results in users having to administer increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects. After that, it takes about 1 - 2 weeks for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 2 - 3 weeks to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption).

Cannabis presents cross-tolerance with all cannabinoids, meaning that after the consumption of cannabis all cannabinoids will have a reduced effect. The mechanisms that create this tolerance to THC are thought to involve changes in cannabinoid receptor function.

Dangerous interactions

  • Psychedelics - While there are no direct physical dangers to combining cannabis with psychedelics, users should keep in mind that both have been shown to have the potential to induce psychosis in certain contexts (typically those who are predisposed to mental conditions). This may be because both of these substances can produce highly elevated states of anxiety, paranoia, and confusion.
Anecdotally, many reports of extremely negative experiences involving psychedelics appear to share the common theme of having the decision to use cannabis act as the turning point for when the experience goes from enjoyable and manageable to sinister and overwhelming. Those who wish to consume cannabis on psychedelics are advised to exercise caution and only intake a fraction of their usual amount at spaced-out intervals.

Legal status

Map showing cannabis laws worldwide
  Legal or essentially legal
  Illegal but decriminalized
  Illegal but often unenforced
  No information

See also

External links


  6. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2
  7. Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries (2007). Spanish Word Histories and Mysteries: English Words That Come From Spanish. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-547-35021-9.
  8. A. ElSohly, Mahmoud (2007). Marijuana and the Cannabinoids. Humana Press. p. 8. ISBN 1-58829-456-0. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  9. Ethan B Russo (2013). Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-136-61493-4. |
  10. Antidepressant-like effect of ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L ( / NCBI) |
  11. Distinct Effects of ?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol on Neural Activation During Emotional Processing |
  12. Martin Booth (2003). Cannabis: A History. Transworld. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4090-8489-1.
  16. Cannabinoids in medicine: A review of their therapeutic potential |
  17. Phytocannabinoids, CNS cells and development: A dead issue? |
  18. Cannabinoid Analgesia as a Potential New Therapeutic Option in the Treatment of Chronic Pain |
  19. The Pharmacologic and Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis |
  20. Cannabinoids in medicine: A review of their therapeutic potential |
  21. Cannabinoids in medicine: A review of their therapeutic potential |
  22. Medical Consequences of Marijuana Use: A Review of Current Literature |
  23. Cannabidiol is an allosteric modulator at mu- and delta-opioid receptors
  24. 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Endogenous Cannabinoid Anandamide Directly Potentiate the Function of Glycine Receptors |
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Robson, P. (2001). "Therapeutic aspects of cannabis and cannabinoids". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 178 (2): 107–115. doi:10.1192/bjp.178.2.107. ISSN 0007-1250. 
  26. Mechoulam, Raphael; Parker, Linda A.; Gallily, Ruth (2002). "Cannabidiol: An Overview of Some Pharmacological Aspects". The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 42 (S1): 11S–19S. doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.2002.tb05998.x. ISSN 0091-2700. 
  27. Mechoulam, R. (1984). Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-5772-1.
  28. How Marijuana Works |
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  30. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): A Cannabinoid Fighting Obesity |
  31. The Pharmacologic and Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis |;jsessionid=1E004D7B7E2B5CA792E75A6E83EEC59C.f03t01
  32. The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis and Cannabinoids |
  33. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cannabis Treatment for Chronic Pain |
  34. Cannabinoids for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain; a systematic review of randomized trials |
  35. Charlotte Figi: The Girl Who is Changing Medical Marijuana Laws Across America |
  36. On the frontier of medical pot to treat boy's epilepsy |
  37. Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy ( / NCBI) |
  38. Cannabidiol displays antiepileptiform and antiseizure properties in vitro and in vivo. ( / NCBI) |
  39. An electrophysiological analysis of the anticonvulsant action of cannabidiol on limbic seizures in conscious rats. ( / NCBI) |
  40. Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabivarin suppresses in vitro epileptiform and in vivo seizure activity in adult rats. ( / NCBI) |
  41. Cannabinoids: Defending the Epileptic Brain ( / NCBI) |
  42. Cardiovascular Effects of Cannabis |
  43. Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Glaucoma? |
  45. Feinberg, I., Jones, R, Walker JM, Cavness, C, March, J. (1975). Effects of high dosage delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on sleep patterns in man. Clin Parmacol Ther. 1975; 17(4):458-66.
  46. Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: examination of the evidence - The British Journal of Psychiatry Jan 2004, 184 (2) 110-117 |
  47. Every-Palmer, S. Synthetic cannabinoid use and psychosis: an explorative study. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2011.
  48. “Spice” Girls: Synthetic Cannabinoid Intoxication - The Journal of Emergency Medicine Volume 40, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 296–299 (ScienceDirect) |
  49. A Teenager With Agitation: Higher Than She Should Have Climbed - Pediatric Emergency Care: June 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - pp 462-465 |
  50. High Times in Ag Science: Marijuana More Potent Than Ever |
  54. The Cultural/Subcultural Contexts of Marijuana Use at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century |
  55. Allan Tasman; Jerald Kay; Jeffrey A. Lieberman; Michael B. First, Mario Maj (2011). Psychiatry. John Wiley & Sons. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-119-96540-4. |
  56. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts? |
  57. Dronabinol |
  58. Marijuana medical handbook |
  59. "Antiemetic Effect of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Patients Receiving Cancer Chemotherapy" Stephen E. Sallan, M.D., Norman E. Zinberg, M.D., and Emil Frei, III, M.D. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM197510162931603
  60. American College of Physicians. Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 2008: Position Paper. (Available from American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA19106.)
  61. Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse (ScienceDirect) |
  62. Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: examination of the evidence - The British Journal of Psychiatry Jan 2004, 184 (2) 110-117 |
  63. Every-Palmer, S. Synthetic cannabinoid use and psychosis: an explorative study. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2011.
  64. “Spice” Girls: Synthetic Cannabinoid Intoxication - The Journal of Emergency Medicine Volume 40, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 296–299 (ScienceDirect) |
  65. A Teenager With Agitation: Higher Than She Should Have Climbed - Pediatric Emergency Care: June 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - pp 462-465 |
  66. Does cannabis use increase the risk of death? Systematic review of epidemiological evidence on adverse effects of cannabis use |
  67. Pharmacology and effects of cannabis: a brief review |
  68. Adverse effects of cannabis |
  70. Tetrahydrocannabinols in clinical and forensic toxicology ( / NCBI) |
  71. Lopez-Quintero C, Pérez de los Cobos J, Hasin DS, et al.: Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug Alcohol Depend 2011; 115: 120–30 |
  72. The Pharmacologic and Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis |
  73. The Effect of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving |
  74. Medical Consequences of Marijuana Use: A Review of Current Literature |
  75. State of the Art Treatments for Cannabis Dependence (ScienceDirect) |
  76. Cannabinoid tolerance and dependence |
  77. MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE Assessing the Science Base |