Marijuana, or cannabis, is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds called THC. When smoked, it can cause changes in the way a person thinks and behaves. Some people feel euphoria, or “high.” They may also experience drowsiness or disorientation, and changes in heart rate or blood pressure. Marijuana can also make it harder to concentrate, and studies show that heavy marijuana use in teen years can cause permanent changes to the brain’s connections related to learning and memory.

There’s a lot of debate about whether weed is useful or not, but the fact is that it’s here to stay. Weeds can help keep soil in place, provide food for livestock and wildlife, and even produce nutritious greens. But some weeds can reduce crop yields by competing with crops for water, nutrients and sunlight, and they can interfere with human activities like irrigating and harvesting. They can be difficult or impossible to eradicate, and they can have detrimental impacts on the environment and the way we farm.

A good first step is to identify the weed, ideally at a flowering stage. The flowers often contain the most defining traits. Use a field guide or taxonomic key, or a botanical name dictionary, and compare the specimen with photographs and descriptions in that reference.

You can also try using the internet, but remember that common names (e.g., common lambsquarters) might not be precise enough to distinguish one species from another.

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