Did you know that marijuana is the most commonly detected illicit drug found in Marine Corps urinalyses? While there is a cultural and political movement to legalize marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance to possess or use anywhere under federal law. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on marijuana use.

Q: Why is marijuana used?

A: Marijuana is primarily used recreationally for the express purpose of getting high. Occasionally, in some states and localities, it is legally prescribed for the management of pain and other adverse symptoms.

Q: Is there a danger in combining marijuana with other drugs?

A: Yes. The use of marijuana, even if it’s medically prescribed, can have a broad range of effects, both physically and mentally. Some of these effects include breathing illnesses, hallucinations, and paranoia. When combined with other drugs, marijuana can have harmful effects.

Q: What if I live in a state where marijuana is legal?

A: Although many states have either passed laws for medical or recreational use of marijuana or its derivatives, it is still illegal for military personnel (at all locations, regardless of state, district, or territorial legislation) to use marijuana or possess it on federal installations.

Q: How is medical marijuana different from regular marijuana?

A: The National Institute on Drugs refers to medical marijuana as using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its essential extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana plants for medical purposes. Instead, two drugs that contain cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) are FDA approved to treat nausea.

For more information on substance use disorders, contact your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center (SACC). Your local SACC offers a wide array of prevention, intervention, and counseling services to promote the readiness of Marines and their families.