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Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that contains close to 500 chemicals, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering compound that causes harmful health effects. People think that because marijuana is a plant, it can't be bad for them. But dangerous drugs like cocaine, heroin, and tobacco also come from plants and are "natural" like marijuana. Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily climbed; today’s marijuana has three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago.

Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6.

Signs of marijuana use may include:

  • Poor physical coordination
  • Red eyes
  • Unusual smell on clothing
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Anxiety

While rare, a marijuana overdose is still possible. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Extreme anxiety or panic attacks
  • Psychotic reactions in which someone loses touch with reality or becomes paranoid
  • Decreased judgment, perception, and coordination
  • A fast heart rate, chest pain, or heart attack
  • Uncontrollable shaking or seizures
  • Pale skin color
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Sudden high blood pressure with headache


  • Allow the victim to "sleep it off."
  • Put the victim in a bath or shower.
  • Leave the victim alone.
  • Treat the victim with home remedies - they do not work and often delay potentially life-saving medical treatment.
  • Delay calling 911 to clean up the scene.

Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose.*

*A Good Samaritan law (63 O.S. § 2-413.1) was enacted in Oklahoma to provide immunity, under certain circumstances, to individuals seeking medical attention for someone who has overdosed.

Although medical marijuana is legal in Oklahoma, that does not mean it is safe. Marijuana can have negative and long-term effects, including:

Brain health: Marijuana use at a young age can cause permanent IQ loss; these IQ points do not come back.

Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.

Athletic performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.

Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana experience slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.

Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may be associated with fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development. THC and other chemicals can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk.

Daily life: Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction than people who do not use marijuana.

Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time is more dangerous than using either alone. There may be drug interactions between marijuana and your medication.

Marijuana affects everyone differently based on things like biology (e.g., genes), history of use, gender, how the drug is taken, and how strong it is. The effects of marijuana can be significantly delayed, particularly with edibles.

Marijuana slows your reaction time and makes it harder to determine distances. It is illegal to drive with ANY amount of marijuana in your saliva or blood stream. There is substantial evidence that marijuana use prior to driving increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.

Be sure to keep all marijuana products in child-resistant packaging and clearly labeled. Lock it up to avoid theft and prevent children and pets from accessing.

Eating or drinking marijuana can make children and pets sick. If you suspect your child or pet has consumed marijuana, call the Poison Control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. If someone has a severe reaction after consuming marijuana, call 911.

Marijuana & Pregnancy

For help finding treatment referrals, call 211.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: (405) 426-8440
Fax: (405) 900-7588

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