Marijuana: What is it and is it legal in the state of Florida
Dealing with a marijuana charge?  Our lawyers are standing by to assist with your case.

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Even after the November 6th, 2012 election results, Marijuana is still illegal in the state of Florida and is heavily prosecuted in the central Florida areas of Orlando, Windermere, Kissimmee, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Tuscawilla, and in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard and Lake County.  With Colorado and Washington making adjustments to their laws about the recreational use of Marijuana, it may be just a matter of time before many other states, including Florida, decide to make changes to their own laws.  If you are interested in seeing when these changes do occur, please subscribe to our blog.  We discuss these types of matters often.

Hiring a lawyer is a good idea if you are arrested or charged with possession of marijuana as it can be a felony if you are caught possessing more than 20 grams of the plant.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana or cannabis is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. It is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; THC for short.

How is Marijuana Abused?

Marijuana is mainly smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in drug paraphernalia such as a pipe or a bowl. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. As the blunt retains the tobacco leaf used to wrap the cigar, smoking blunts combine marijuana's active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Marijuana can also be mixed in food such as brownies or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil.

Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

When a person smokes pot, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, initiating a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the "high" that people experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

Cannabis intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs.

Marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its harmful effects upon social functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, and drug craving, all of which make it hard to quit.

Can Marijuana affect mental health?

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.

What Other Adverse Effect Does Marijuana have on the body?

There is a study that found that an abuser's risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. Other studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than cigarette smoke. Pot smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways.

What Treatment Options exist if you get arrested for smoking marijuana?

Behavioral interventions, including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have shown efficacy in treating marijuana dependence. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the cannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

What should you do if you get arrested for Marijuana in the State of Florida?

If you are arrested in Orlando, or any other neighboring communities, call a drug charges defense attorney who is experienced in marijuana, cannabis or hash cases. Hiring an experienced Orlando attorney may be critical to the outcome of the case as you or your loved one may face driver's license suspension, probation or in some cases jail or prison time. If you have been charged or arrested for possession of marijuana or cannabis in Orlando, Windermere, Baldwin Park, Avalon Park, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Celebration, Kissimmee, or in Orange, Lake, Seminole or Osceola county, call us at 407-228-3838 or contact us via email today. Let our former prosecutors help you today!

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