Answers to Marijuana Quiz

Test your knowledge of one of America’s most used drugs with our Marijuana quiz, then come back here to check your answers to see how much you really know.

Correct Answers:

1. Marijuana is not addictive.

Answer: False

Many people think that marijuana is not addictive because they know people who have used it for a long time who don’t seem to experience withdrawal when they stop using. This makes sense because many people only think of more extreme withdrawal the way it has been depicted in movies or the media.

Yet studies show:

The intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies across drugs and will also depend on how progressed the addiction is.

Marijuana stays in the body longer creating a kind of “weaning” effect which minimizes some withdrawal symptoms.

1 out of every 10 marijuana users will become addicted; a rate similar to alcohol. When use begins in adolescence, the rate is 1 in 6, a rate matching that of cocaine.

Marijuana IS addictive.



2. The potency of today’s marijuana is:

Answer: About 10x stronger than the marijuana from the 1970s.

Often we hear conflicting “facts” about marijuana and the question of potency has been misrepresented on all sides of the marijuana debate — with some saying it is no more potent than the past and others over-exaggerating potency.

The facts:

The University of Mississippi Potency Monitoring Project began monitoring marijuana THC levels in the mid-1970s and has found that marijuana potency has been steadily rising over the years.

In the mid-1970s, average THC levels of seized marijuana were less than 1%.

By 1985: 3.5 %

By 2006: 8.8 %

By 2009: 10.1%

This 10-fold increase in potency has coincided with:

  • Increased emergency room admissions with marijuana.
  • Increased admissions to drug treatment programs for marijuana addiction, especially among teens.  (see chart)

Today’s Marijuana is not the same as the 1970s Marijuana.

It is 10 times stronger, leading to increased problems.


3. Marijuana doesn’t hurt anyone.

Answer: False

“Marijuana is harmless.” It is said so often that many people have simply come to believe this statement to be true.  And with the entertainment industry consistently portraying marijuana use as funny without ever really showing negative consequences — what else are we supposed to believe?

Yet research demonstrates both health and safety risks from the use of marijuana.

A recent study found use reduces IQ as much as 8 points by age 38 among people who started using marijuana regularly before age 18, but then stopped.

In the past decade, a significant body of research has demonstrated the risks of marijuana and driving, with marijuana users at minimum doubling their risk of a crash.

Marijuana use was involved in 461,028 hospital emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2010. (see chart).

Marijuana use can result in 4x greater risk of a heart attack within an hour after use, and patients with heart disease have increased incidence of chest pain.

Workplace studies have linked marijuana to increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims and job turnover.

Many studies consistently show marijuana use to be associated with reduced grades, and a reduced chance of graduating from school.

There is no safe high.


4. Using marijuana is safer than drinking alcohol.

Answer: False

Sometimes people assume that using marijuana is safer than alcohol. This makes sense since in our culture we have been taught to define impairment in physical ways. Basically, if someone isn’t stumbling and staggering then many people would consider them to not be impaired.

But there are two kinds of impairment, mental and physical.

For all drugs, including alcohol, mental impairment precedes physical impairment.

Mental impairment is subtle, whereas physical impairment is more obvious (stumbling, staggering, slurred speech).

Someone can be impaired mentally without it showing physically.

Mental impairment means the “directions” given to the physical functions could be wrong.

Mental impairment is the causative factor in many crashes, injuries and accidents, even with alcohol.

Marijuana use impairs more mental functions than shows physically. Research has shown impairments in key mental functions such as:

  • Memory
  • Reflexes
  • Judgment
  • Attention
  • Cognitive skills
  • Perception

These impairments can be present while high, but because marijuana stays in the body longer, they can also linger well past the experience of the high. Depending on how much and how often an individual uses, some impairments can be measured even weeks after last use.

Marijuana is NOT safe.


5. It is safe to drive after using marijuana.

Answer: False

If you are at a bar and a friend is staggering and stumbling drunk, most of us would try to stop that friend from driving. We all know that drinking and driving do not mix.

But if that friend seemed fine, even though we knew they had had a lot to drink, we might not think twice about them driving. When we hear later that they crashed and that alcohol played a role, it can be confusing.

We grow up in a culture that largely ignores mental impairment, which is a subtle form of impairment which, more often than not, is the causative factor in most crashes, even with alcohol.

Driving and marijuana do not mix:

Marijuana is much more impairing mentally than shows physically.

In the past decade, a significant body of research has demonstrated the risks of marijuana and driving, with marijuana users at minimum doubling their risk of a crash.

Marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims. (NHTSA 2010 report # DOT HS 811 415)

The typical marijuana high results in a level of impairment which is equivalent to a .08 BAC level. This is the legal limit in all 50 states for driving. Yet, .08 BAC does NOT mean we are safe to drive.

Marijuana and driving DON’T mix.


6. Smoking marijuana is safer than smoking cigarettes.

Answer: False

Many people believe smoking marijuana is safer than cigarettes because even heavy marijuana smokers typically inhale less smoke than tobacco smokers.  Yet quantity of smoke is not the only factor to consider. For example:

Marijuana burns hotter than tobacco which creates a hotter smoke that, by common custom, is held in the lungs longer. This heat burns the protective lining of the lungs.

Marijuana smoke has 3 – 10 times the tar as tobacco and 4 times greater tar retention in the lungs after exhaling than a comparable tobacco cigarette.

Marijuana smoke contains as much as 50% to 75% more of some of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

One joint has been found to result in similar airflow obstruction as up to 5 tobacco cigarettes.

Smoking marijuana is NOT safer than smoking tobacco.


7. No one has ever died from marijuana.

Answer: False

Many people believe that no one has ever died from marijuana. This makes sense if they mean that no one overdoses on marijuana. This is true. Research shows that it seems impossible for the human body to get a toxic dose of marijuana.

However, “poisoning” or overdose is not the way most people die from ANY drug. More often, substance misusers die from a safety incident related to impairment. Many also die from health complications due to their use. Marijuana is no different.

And, a recent study released in October, 2012, found that individuals treated for addiction to marijuana had a higher mortality rate than those with diagnoses related to cocaine or alcohol, but lower than those with methamphetamine or opioid-related disorders.

Marijuana is a factor in many deaths.


8. Marijuana is a safe because it is natural.

Answer: False

Sometimes people believe marijuana is safe because it is a natural plant from the earth which is most often used in its natural form. Most tobacco products today are filled with additives and preservatives, and many mood-altering drugs are man-made concoctions cooked up in a lab or in a basement.

Yet, just because marijuana is plant-based, does it make it safe?

Many plants are toxic and unsafe for human use, such as hemlock, wolfs bane, foxglove, jimson weed, arsenic, bella donna, and many more.

Marijuana, even in its most natural forms, has been proven to carry both health and safety risks.

Natural doesn’t always mean Safe.


9. What percent of state prisoners are being held for marijuana possession only?

Answer:  0.1% of state prisoners are being held for marijuana possession only.

In total, one tenth of one percent (0.1%) of state prisoners were marijuana possession offenders with no prior sentences. (see chart)

For Federal prisoners (who represent 13 percent of the total prison population in the U.S.):

  • About half (51%) had a drug offense as the most serious offense in 2009.
  • 99.8 % of Federal prisoners sentenced for drug offenses were incarcerated for drug trafficking.

Simply stated, there are very few people in state or Federal prison for marijuana-related crimes.

Prisons are not filled with marijuana possession offenders.

10. One ounce of marijuana yields:

Answer: Approximately 84 cigarette sized joints.

In the two states which recently passed legalization measures (Colorado and Washington), they allow for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. And Colorado also allows individuals to cultivate up to six plants.

1 ounce, 6 plants … doesn’t sound like much.

Yet, based on commonly used references which are presented in court to defend clients charged with trafficking:

  • 1 ounce of marijuana yields approximately 84 joints.
  • 1 joint, at minimum, results in 4 hours of intoxication.
  • 84 joints x 4 hours of intoxication each = 336 hours high per ounce of marijuana.
  • 336 hours = 14 days of continual high per ounce.

And, those 6 plants?

According to the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), one plant yields between .4 to .54 pounds of marijuana.

With 16 ounces per pound, that means 6 plants = 38.4 to 51.84 ounces of marijuana.

6 plants of marijuana = 538 to 726 days of continual high.

Marijuana is light in weight, the impacts of marijuana use are not.


11. Everybody does it!

Answer: False

Marijuana is all over the news, joked about in television shows, and depicted as normal in the movies. Add the internet presence of this drug, and it would be easy to think that “everybody’s doing it.”

Yet, research shows that the vast majority of Americans do not use marijuana. While marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, that does not mean everyone uses it.

In 2010, 17.4 million Americans aged 12 and older reported using the drug within the past month. However, this is only 6.9 percent of the entire U.S. population 12 and older.  (see chart)

Furthermore, a majority of Americans have never even tried marijuana. The latest survey of drug use found that 58 percent of Americans 12 and older had never used marijuana.

Common references and media discussions about marijuana issues may create a perception that marijuana use is common, but the data show a very different picture.

The majority of youth don’t use drugs!