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Cannabis – Marijuana

Cannabis – Marijuana

Cannabis drink and drugs advice line


Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant. It is used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. The plant contains various chemical compounds called cannabinoids, with the two most well-known and studied cannabinoids being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the euphoric and mind-altering effects commonly associated with marijuana use. It binds to specific receptors in the brain, leading to various effects such as relaxation, altered perception of time, increased appetite, and changes in mood.

CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and does not produce the same intoxicating effects as THC. It is believed to have potential therapeutic benefits and is the focus of ongoing research for its potential use in treating various medical conditions.

Cannabis is typically consumed by smoking or vaporising the dried flowers of the plant, but it can also be consumed orally through edibles or used topically in the form of creams or lotions. The effects of cannabis can vary depending on the strain, THC and CBD content, dosage, and individual factors such as tolerance and metabolism.

It’s worth noting that the legal status of cannabis varies across countries and regions. In some places, it is legal for medical and/or recreational use, while in others, it remains illegal. It’s important to be aware of and comply with the laws and regulations regarding cannabis in your specific jurisdiction.

What is the negative effects?

While cannabis can have some potential benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential negative effects as well. Here are some commonly reported negative effects of cannabis use:

  1. Impaired Cognitive Function: Cannabis use, particularly in high doses or over a long period, can impair cognitive function, including memory, attention, and concentration. This can impact learning, work performance, and daily functioning.

  2. Psychiatric Symptoms: In some individuals, cannabis use can trigger or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and psychosis. This is more likely to occur in individuals who are predisposed to mental health conditions or who use cannabis in high doses.

  3. Respiratory Issues: Smoking cannabis can have similar respiratory risks as smoking tobacco. Regular and long-term smoking can lead to coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. Vaporising or consuming cannabis through other methods can reduce these risks.

  4. Addiction and Dependence: Cannabis use can lead to addiction and dependence in some individuals. Regular and heavy use of cannabis can create a psychological and physical dependence, making it difficult to stop using it without experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

  5. Impact on Mental Health: While cannabis can provide temporary relief from stress or anxiety for some individuals, heavy or chronic use has been associated with an increased risk of developing or worsening mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia, especially in susceptible individuals.

  6. Impaired Motor Function: Cannabis use can impair motor coordination, reaction time, and judgment, increasing the risk of accidents, injuries, and impaired driving ability.

  7. Negative Effects on Adolescents: Cannabis use during adolescence, when the brain is still developing, may have long-lasting effects on cognitive function and increase the risk of mental health problems.

It’s important to remember that the specific effects of cannabis can vary depending on the individual, the dose, the method of consumption, and the strain of cannabis used. Additionally, some of these negative effects can be mitigated by using cannabis responsibly, in moderation, and under appropriate circumstances. If you have concerns about cannabis use, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and support.

How to tell if someone has taken / smoked Cannabis

It can be challenging to definitively determine if someone has consumed cannabis solely based on outward signs or behaviours. However, there are some common indicators that might suggest cannabis use. These signs can vary depending on the individual, the amount and potency of cannabis consumed, and the method of consumption. Here are some potential signs to look out for:

  1. Physical signs:

    • Bloodshot or red eyes
    • Dry mouth (cottonmouth)
    • Slow reaction time or impaired coordination
    • Increased appetite or “the munchies”
    • Odour of cannabis on breath, clothing, or personal belongings
  2. Behavioural signs:

    • Euphoria or increased sense of relaxation
    • Giggling or increased laughter
    • Altered perception of time
    • Slowed speech or difficulty finding words
    • Impaired memory or forgetfulness
    • Changes in appetite or food preferences

It’s important to note that these signs can also be attributed to other factors or unrelated circumstances. Additionally, individuals who regularly use cannabis may develop tolerance and exhibit fewer noticeable signs. It’s essential to approach the situation with open-mindedness and communicate openly if you have concerns about someone’s cannabis use. Remember that it’s always best to have a respectful and non-judgmental conversation to gather more information and address any potential issues.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is cannabis legal?

    • The legality of cannabis varies from country to country and even within different states or regions. Some places have legalised cannabis for medical and/or recreational use, while others have strict laws against its use. It’s important to check the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.
  2. What are the different strains of cannabis?

    • Cannabis strains can be broadly categorised as indica, sativa, or hybrid. Indica strains are typically associated with relaxation and sedation, while sativa strains are known for their energising and uplifting effects. Hybrid strains are a combination of both indica and sativa traits. Within each category, there are numerous specific strains with different cannabinoid profiles and effects.
  3. How is cannabis consumed?

    • Cannabis can be consumed in various ways, including smoking, vaporising, eating edibles, using tinctures or oils, and applying topicals. Each method has different onset times, duration of effects, and potential health risks.
  4. What are the potential medical uses of cannabis?

    • Cannabis has shown potential in the treatment of certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, and epilepsy. However, it’s important to note that the use of cannabis for medical purposes should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  5. Can cannabis be addictive?

    • Yes, cannabis can be addictive for some individuals. It is estimated that around 9% of cannabis users may develop a cannabis use disorder, which is characterised by problematic use, withdrawal symptoms, and difficulty quitting despite negative consequences.
  6. Are there potential side effects of cannabis use?

    • Some common side effects of cannabis use include dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, impaired coordination, and memory and cognitive issues. These effects can vary depending on the individual and the specific strain and dose of cannabis used.
  7. Can cannabis be used recreationally?

    • Yes, cannabis is often used recreationally for its psychoactive effects. However, it’s important to use it responsibly and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

It’s important to note that the information provided here is general and may not apply to every individual or situation. If you have specific questions or concerns about cannabis, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional or seek reliable sources of information.

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