Frequently asked questions
What is cannabis?
Cannabis—also known as marijuana, pot, herb, bud, weed, grass, chronic, dank, dope, ganga, and kush—comes from the hemp plant cannabis sativa or cannabis indica.
There are four main types of cannabis products
A mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. Flower is typically smoked.
A potent extract of cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. You can consume concentrates orally (RSO), through vaporizing, or dabbing (shatter, wax, budder).
A cannabis-infused food product, such as a cookie, cracker, mint, chocolate, or drink. Be aware: Edibles have a delayed effect, sometimes lasting several hours, which may cause users to consume too much because they believe the drug is not working. This can cause a user to overdose or have a negative experience.
A cannabis-infused lotion, balm, or oil absorbs through the skin. Topical cannabis products are not psychoactive and will not get a user high.
What are the main chemicals in cannabis?
Cannabis has more than 400 chemicals. The two most prominently discussed, studied, and understood chemicals are THC and CBD.
THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main active chemical in cannabis and is what causes a person to feel high.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis. Overall, we’ll need more research to fully understand all the impacts of CBD.
Has cannabis potency increased?
Changes in the way cannabis is grown and processed have dramatically increased its potency in the last 50 years. Cannabis-infused products, such as baked goods and sodas, are often stronger than smoked cannabis. Concentrates, such as hash oil, have the highest amount of THC.
What should I do if my child accidentally consumes cannabis?
If your child accidentally consumes cannabis or cannabis-infused products, contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room.
What should I do if my pet consumes cannabis?
Cannabis can be harmful to your pet. If you think your pet has consumed cannabis, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.
Where can I find information on medical marijuana?
For more information on medical marijuana, please visit the Washington State Department of Health website.
I don’t do drugs. Why am I seeing Know This About Cannabis ads?
The Know This About Cannabis campaign aims to educate adults 21 years of age and older about the risks, rules, and responsibilities of retail, or non-medical, cannabis use in Washington state. We have no way of knowing whether or not you use cannabis.
Where do you get your information?
Our information comes from many sources—like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the American Medical Association, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
We also use information from many of our partners, including the University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, and the Washington Poison Center.
If you’re curious about a specific piece of information, all sources are cited or linked when referenced.
Can cannabis be beneficial?
Washington State has legalized medical marijuana. For a lot of people, cannabis is an effective way to treat or manage a health condition. To learn more about medical marijuana, please talk to your health care provider.
I’ve heard that vaping has been linked to people being hospitalized—what’s going on? And is the Department of Health addressing it?
All those who have developed a vaping-associated lung injury have a history of using e-cigarettes or vapor products. However, no specific product or substance has been identified as a cause. The healthiest option is to not use any vapor products, including nicotine, flavors, or cannabis (THC and CBD).
If you do use, we encourage you to monitor for symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain—and seek immediate medical attention if you have concerns. If you need help quitting tobacco or nicotine, visit www.doh.wa.gov/quit. For support in quitting cannabis, you can also visit www.warecoveryhelpline.org.
The Washington State Department of Health is actively investigating patients with possible lung injury and working with hospitals across the state to identify additional cases. For up-to-date information on the investigation, please visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/VapingAssociatedLungInjury.