SMOKING MAD TREES IN CACTUS LAND. If you never experienced smoking weed in the desert, you should try it.

Medical marijuana is now legal in a majority of states. A small but growing number of states and cities have legalized recreational pot as well. Marijuana still is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S.

Marijuana has some well-proven benefits, including relief for long-term pain. But smoking marijuana can have some bad effects on your health, including making breathing problems worse.

The federal ban on marijuana makes it hard to study its effects on humans. For example, very little research exists on edible marijuana.

Key Chemicals

Marijuana comes from the dried flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It has more than 500 chemicals. Cannabis can have a psychoactive — or mind-altering — effect on you.

THC: This is the main psychoactive agent in marijuana. Its full name is delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. When you smoke cannabis, THC goes from your lungs into your bloodstream and then into your brain. It stimulates the part of your brain that responds to sources of pleasure, like food and sex. That lets loose a chemical called dopamine, which causes the high.

If you smoke or eat pot, you might have encountered the “marijuana munchies,” or the desire for salty, sweet or fatty carbohydrate-rich foods when using the drug.

But what exactly are those cannabis-related cravings all about? Why do they happen?
Well, you can blame them on the drug’s active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
THC is responsible for the “high” many people experience when using cannabis. But it’s also primarily responsible for the increase in food cravings people get when taking the drug.
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