What you need to know about weed
Recreational use of marijuana is legal for adults over 21. Find out what you need to know about weed.
Page last updated August 26, 2021.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana, or weed, contains two main ingredients: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). People consume weed in different ways: smoking, vaping, eating, drinking, applying to the skin. Our bodies process weed differently depending on the way we consume it.
What is THC?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part of the marijuana plant that causes us to feel high. The THC content in marijuana today is more potent than the weed of the 80s and 90s.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is the part of the marijuana plant that does not cause us to feel high. Many people think it could reduce pain and inflammation, but there isn’t much evidence of this. More research is needed to find out.
What are edibles?
An edible is a food item or beverage baked or mixed with weed. Edibles affect your body differently than smoking weed. When weed is smoked, the THC quickly passes from the lungs to the bloodstream and is carried to the brain and other organs throughout your body. When you eat or drink an edible, your body absorbs it and it can take up to 1-2 hours to feel the effects.
This makes edibles risky – People sometimes consume too much at one time while waiting to feel the high effect and before feeling how potent the THC in the edible is.
Consuming too much of an edible too fast can cause a bad reaction including: poisoning, heart racing, or paranoia. These reactions can be scary. If you think this is happening to someone, call the local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
You Must Be 21
To use, purchase, or possess weed you must be 21 years or older.
Anyone under 18 in possession, cultivating, or using weed may be subject to counseling and community service. If a friend or family member buys marijuana legally and gives it to you, they could get in trouble with the law for giving it to you.
Medical marijuana is legal if you are 18 years or older with a doctor’s recommendation. Like using someone else’s prescription medication, it’s illegal to use someone else’s medical marijuana, even if they offer it to you.
Driving high does not make you a better driver. Marijuana can impair your reaction time, body movement, and judgment of time and depth, all things that are necessary to drive safely. For more information on the law, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/know-the-law.
Signs of Addiction
When does using weed become an addiction? When you use more than you planned to or when you try to quit repeatedly but you can’t stop using weed. When weed becomes a priority over living your life to its fullest potential and it gets in the way of school, sports, extracurricular activities, or your job, that is a sign of addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, call the Los Angeles County Substance Abuse Service Helpline – anytime 24/7 for FREE – at (844) 804-7500 to learn about no-cost treatment services available in Los Angeles County.