How is marijuana used?

Marijuana is usually smoked or consumed. Marijuana can be smoked in cigarettes (joints), pipes or water pipes (bongs). Marijuana can be consumed in food or drink products called edibles. It can also be used through tinctures, creams or oils. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive odor, often referred to as both sweet-and-sour or skunky.25

Different forms of marijuana cause effects that can be brief or last for hours. Use caution when driving, biking or performing other safety sensitive activities after use of any form of marijuana, including vaporized products.1  

Marijuana can be recommended by a doctor in special cases. Many medicines, including marijuana, have harmful side effects. A doctor decides whether the benefits are greater than the risks. Talk to your doctor about treatment choices that have the lowest risks.

Is marijuana safe?

Doctors can recommend marijuana in special cases. Many medicines, including marijuana, have harmful side effects. A doctor decides whether the benefits are greater than the risks. Talk to your doctor about treatment choices that have the lowest risks.

Typical marijuana plants contain more than 400 chemicals, including about 60 that can interact with the body’s nervous system.4 Regular marijuana use (weekly) is associated with depression and may be associated with other mental health disorders like anxiety and psychosis.1 Less is known about the health issues that might be caused by occasional marijuana use. Marijuana also can be contaminated with mold, insecticides or other chemicals. Health effects of many of these chemicals are not known.

Is smoking marijuana safe?

Heavy marijuana smoking (daily or near daily) is strongly associated with chronic bronchitis, including chronic cough, sputum production and wheezing.1 Marijuana smoke, both firsthand and secondhand, contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke.1

Is vaping or vaporizing safer than smoking marijuana?

Vaporizers heat marijuana to release its active ingredients, like THC. Vaporizers do not burn the plant. There has not been enough research to know if using a vaporizer is safer than smoking a joint. More research is needed to know if vaporizers are tied to breathing or lung issues.1

Is smoking marijuana through a water pipe or bong safer than smoking without a filter?

When using a water pipe or bong, the smoke goes through water before a person inhales. Recent research suggests that the water filters out THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes a person “high.” The limited research shows that the water is better at filtering out THC more than potentially harmful tars.6 This may mean a smoker using a bong may inhale more harmful tars to get the same dose of THC as someone smoking a joint.

Is it safe to eat or drink marijuana-infused products?

Though smoking marijuana has the added risk of harmful smoke exposure, eating or drinking marijuana still exposes you to THC, the chemical that makes you “high.”

The effects of marijuana peak just minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke or vapor. However, the effects can peak up to four hours after eating or drinking it. That can make it hard for the user to know how much they should take. For occasional users, smoking, eating or drinking even one serving (10 mg) of marijuana is likely to cause impairment. This affects your ability to drive, bike, or perform other safety-sensitive activities.1 THC can affect people differently, so be aware of the amount you consume and its impairing effects.

The effects from eating or drinking marijuana can last up to 10 hours. This means that someone can be impaired from marijuana for a long time after eating or drinking marijuana.1 Wait at least 8 hours after eating or drinking less than 18mg of THC before driving, biking or performing other safety-sensitive activities. If you have consumed more than 18mg of THC, wait longer.1

Are there food guidelines to follow for putting marijuana in food or drinks?

There is no way to guarantee safety when putting marijuana in food. You can lower risk of bacteria and viruses by following safe food handling practices and good hand washing. More information on safe food handling is available through the state health department's training. The training will help marijuana product manufacturers to learn the basics of safe food handling, similar to the training provided to anyone working in the food industry. This training does not address potency, the effects of cooking or other production methods on potency or the amounts of THC within edible products.

What happens if you consume alcohol and marijuana at the same time?

Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time is likely to result in greater impairment than either one alone.1 Use caution when driving, biking or performing any other safety-sensitive activities after use of any form of marijuana, especially if you have also consumed alcohol.

What is hash oil?

Hash oil (also known as butane hash oil, dabs, wax, earwax, honey, honey oil, or shatter) is a product created by extracting THC from the marijuana plant. This product may contain up to 60-80% THC and is consumed by smoking, vaporizing, or adding to food.

Is making hash oil dangerous?

Making hash oil using flammable liquids is extremely dangerous. It has resulted in explosions, severe burns and death. There are safer ways to make hash oil. We recommend buying it from a licensed marijuana retail store. If you do choose to make your own, consider using dry ice (CO2) or ice water. These methods reduce the risk of fire and explosion. If using flammables, make sure they are used outdoors and away from sparks, flames or anything else that could start a fire. Evaporation of the flammable liquids should only be performed outdoors. Do NOT use external heat.

Is using hash oil (dabbing) safe?

Hash oil can have up to 60-80% THC concentration. Consuming this highly concentrated form of THC increases the risk of an unpredictable high and negative physical and emotional reactions. Since dabbing only became more common recently, there is no reliable information on long term health effects.

Are synthetic marijuana substances the same as marijuana?


No. Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2, is not a natural product. Chemicals are often sprayed on synthetic marijuana and may cause elevated heart rates and blood pressure, drowsiness, agitation, hallucinations, seizures, tremors (shaking), vomiting, paranoia, loss of physical control, and comas.