Cannabis is a drug that comes from the cannabis sativa plant.
The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). There are three main forms of cannabis: marijuana, hashish and hash oil.
Marijuana is the most common and least powerful form of cannabis, consisting of the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.
Hashish (hash) is small blocks of dried cannabis resin, ranging in colour from light brown to nearly black. THC in hashish is higher than in marijuana, producing stronger effects.
Hash oil is a thick, oily golden-brown to black liquid extracted from hashish. Hash oil is the most powerful form of cannabis.
What happens after using cannabis?
- Relaxation and loss of inhibition
- Increased appetite
- A change in the way a person hears and sees things. It can make time seem to slow down
- Reduced or impaired co-ordination
- Difficulty thinking and remembering things
- Other common effects include increased heart rate, low blood pressure, faintness and reddened eyes.
A person who takes large amounts of cannabis can feel confused, restless, excited, anxious or panicky. He or she may also have hallucinations and also slower reactions.
What happens if someone mixes cannabis with other drugs?
The effects of cannabis may increase the effects of the other drug(s) or they may hide some of the effects, making it hard to tell exactly how the drug has affected the user. He or she may think they are OK without knowing really what is going on inside their body.
What are the long-term effects of using cannabis?
Using cannabis regularly may lead to:
- Breathing problems: Marijuana ‘joints’ have more tar than tobacco, increasing the risk of lung cancer and other lung infections
- Less motivation
- Concentration, memory and the ability to learn can all be reduced by regular cannabis use. These effects can linger for several months after a person’s last use of cannabis
- Hormones: Cannabis can affect a person’s hormone production
- Psychosis: Regular and heavy use may also lead to hallucinations, delusions, memory loss and confusion lasting up to a few days
- Cannabis use may also bring on schizophrenia in those who have a family history of a mental illness
- Cannabis use can trigger psychosis in those who already have a mental illness.