Psychoactive Drugs

Marijuana and Opium

By Christina Campbell, Anna Lussier, and Merrell Readman

Description and Chemical Makeup of Opium

Opium appears to be a black or sometimes brown, tar like block. It originates from the opium poppy seed and the chemical makeup includes varying amounts of morphine, codeine, and papaverine.

Classification of Opium

Opium is classified under being a depressant because it slows down reaction time and other motor functions.

Slang Terms and Street Names of Opium

Slang Terms: Big O, Black Stuff, Block

Ways to Ingest Opium

Opium can be smoked, consumed orally, or dissolved into alcohol.

Similar Drugs and Effects

One drug that is very closely related to Opium is Heroin. Like Opium, Heroin is another highly addictive drug that can be smoked and injected. It has a white powdery appearance in most forms but can also appear as a black, tar-like substance. After being taken, both of these drugs produce a euphoric feeling in the body.

Medicinal Uses of Opium

Opium was occasionally used to help with dulling severe pain before the discovery of morphine. In the 1800’s it was used to promote sleep, but that is no longer the use.

Effects of Opium on the Body and Mind

Psychological Effects:

-increase in endorphins






Physiological Effects:

  • -euphoria

  • -sense of emotional detachment

  • -absence of pain and stress

  • -altered mood and mental processes

  • -sleepiness/ sleep disturbances

  • -vomiting

  • -loss of appetite

  • -reduced sex drive

  • -itchy skin

  • -increased urination

  • -sweating

  • -inability to concentrate

  • -impaired vision

  • -death

  • Duration of Effects:
  • The length of the effect depends on how opium was introduced to the body. When opium is smoked, the effects will appear more quickly because the drug is easily absorbed into the blood stream from the lungs. However, when eaten or mixed into a liquid, the drug must pass through the stomach first and take longer for the effects to appear.

              • Dependence and Addiction to Opium

                Opium is a highly addictive drug. After an extended period of opium use, the users body depends on the drug to do everyday activities. It now will take more of the drug for the user to get the same effect as before. Without the use of opium for several days, the user will experience extreme cases of withdrawal.

                Myths about Opium

                Myth: Opium is not as dangerous as heroin. It is a traditional ancient substance and can’t be too bad for you.

                Truth: Opium may have a long history of use, but it is also dangerous and even deadly. Long before scientists understood opium, they could observe that addicts would eventually care more about smoking opium than other necessary actions for living.

                Risks and Harmful effects of Opium Use

                Some risks of Opium use include extreme lung damage from smoking, various circulatory diseases, as well as a strong dependency on the drug after extended use. It is a highly addictive drug, and can be associated with other drugs such as heroin.

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                Description and Chemical Makeup of Marijuana

                Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. It is made up of dried parts of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The most active ingredient in marijuana is THC.

                Classification of Marijuana

                Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 Drug.

                Slang Terms and Street Names for Marijuana

                Marijuana is commonly referred to as pot, weed, mary jane, bud, weed, grass, 420, herb, dope, or roach.

                Ways to Ingest Marijuana

                You can ingest Marijuana by smoking it or by oral consumption.

                Similar Drugs with the Same Effects as Marijuana

                Salvia is a legal drug similar to Marijuana. Salvia is an ornamental plant. The leaves can have a hallucinagenic effect when consumed in the same way that tobacco is consumed. You can consume it by drying and smoking the leaves or by chewing them. If smoked, salvia is typically rolled in paper and turned into a "joint," or inhaled through a bong. Some effects of Salvia that are similar to the effects of Marijuana are feelings of relaxation, improved mood, and a long term effect is that it can cause depression.

                Medicinal Uses of Marijuana

                ndicated for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS, and to treat mild to moderate nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

                Effects of Marijuana on the Body and the Mind

                Effects on the brain:

                • Feelings of intoxication and detachment

                • Relaxation

                • Altered perception of time and distance

                • Intensified senses

                • Laughter, talkativeness

                • Decreased anxiety and alertness

                • Depression


                • Cough, wheezing

                • Bronchitis

                • Emphysema

                • Cancer

                • Tar is deposited into the respiratory system.

                Dependence and Addiction to Marijuana

                Addiction can cause one to be dependent on marijuana because they experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not using marijuana. There are signs that marijuana may cause physical dependence through changes in brain chemistry. Heavy marijuana use has been known to lead to psychological addiction and social dependence. Also people who begin to crave marijuana may think about the drug all of the time and where to get it. Some smokers may need more marijuana to feel the same effect and find themselves always using marijuana.

                Myths about Marijuana

                A common myth about Marijuana is that it is harmless. Marijuana is not harmless, the use of the drug can lead to significant health, safety, social, and learning or behavioral problems, especially for young users.

                Risks and Harmful Effects of Marijuana Use

                Using Marijuana comes with many harmful effects such as distorted perception, problems with memory and learning, loss of coordination, trouble with thinking and problem solving, increased heart rate, and reduced blood pressure. Also Marijuana and teen driving do not mix. It is the most common illegal drug found in drivers who die in accidents (around 14 percent of drivers), sometimes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
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