Recognizing Marijuana Paraphernalia
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) explains, “Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.” The plant organically contains THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a chemical that produces mind-altering effects when ingested. Marijuana is known as the second most commonly used psychotropic drug in America, after alcohol. Though the legality surrounding marijuana is shifting in the United States as certain states have decriminalized the substance and/ or legalized marijuana, it remains classified as a Schedule I Substance by the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration), which are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” There are a variety of ways a young person can use marijuana, some of which can include the following, as provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
- Rolling it up and smoking it like a cigar or cigarette
- Smoking it in a pipe
- Mixing it in food and eating it
- Brewing it as tea
- Vaping: using electronic vaporizers
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (a component of the United States Department of Justice), “The term drug paraphernalia refers to any equipment that is used to produce, conceal, and consume illicit drugs.” There is a wide assortment of marijuana paraphernalia, as they often correlate to the many different methods of ingestion.
There has been an increase in availability of marijuana paraphernalia, which can be directly attributed to the national wave of its legalization. Below are several examples of marijuana paraphernalia:
- Pipes, pieces and bowls: are ceramic, plastic or glass tools that marijuana is put directly into and smoked. They come in all different shapes and sizes.
- Bongs: are water pipes for smoking marijuana. When using a bong, the smoke is filtered through water prior to it being inhaled.
- Bubbler: typically made of glass, a marijuana bubbler is a combination of a pipe and a bong and filters smoke through water.
- Rolling papers: are used to roll marijuana into a joint and smoked.
- Store-bought cigars: are used to make blunts by being hollowed out and filled with marijuana and smoked.
- Roach clips: are metal clasps that hold the joint to prevent fingers from burning.
- Grinders: are a device typically made of metal or wood that is used to break up the dried components of the marijuana plant (e.g. flower, stems, leaves, seeds, etc.) so it can be rolled into a joint or packed into a blunt or bowl and smoked, or cooked into food and eaten.
- Vaporizers: use heat to convert marijuana into vapor that is then inhaled. They come in different sizes.
- Vape pens, dab pens, e-cigarettes, e-vapes: is the smaller version of vaporizers and do not produce smoke or combustion, nor do they give off a smell when used.
Although not considered marijuana paraphernalia, other items such eye-drops, gum, breath mints, perfume and/ or cologne can be indicative attempting to conceal marijuana use. If a teenager is in possession of marijuana paraphernalia, it is highly likely that he or she is using marijuana.
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