Cannabis is generally mixed with tobacco and smoked either through a ‘bong’ or rolled in joints and can be cooked into biscuits or cakes and ingested.
Marijuana, grass, pot, weed, hash, choof and dope.
Cannabis is a drug known as a depressant which means it slows down the central nervous system and causes a relaxing effect. It can elevate a person’s mood, cause an altered awareness and perception of colour and sound. It can also causes reflective thinking and increased appetite and drowsiness. Cannabis has been known to decrease stress and physical pain.
Cannabis can cause:
Cannabis can lead to:
On rare occasions some people have reported that after smoking too much cannabis they have experienced a psychotic episode (hallucinations and deluded thoughts). These symptoms are rare in relation to cannabis use. However cannabis can make psychotic symptoms worse if a person already has a psychotic disorder (such as schizophrenia). Some reports suggest that cannabis can cause schizophrenia.
Evidence does support the findings that if a person has a pre-disposition to psychotic disorders then the use of cannabis can trigger this. There is no evidence to support that cannabis causes schizophrenia in a person who has no pre-disposition or family history. For those that do, it is recommended that cannabis be avoided.
Understanding the links between cannabis use and other more common mental health disorders (such as depression and anxiety) can be unclear. The use of cannabis can help to relieve the symptoms of depression while the drug is still affecting the person (being high), however when these effects wear off the onset of the depression can worsen.
Those who use cannabis have been shown to have higher levels of depression and depressive symptoms than those who do not use cannabis. There is suggested evidence to say that frequent heavy cannabis use can predict depression later in life, especially in young women.
The use of cannabis has reportedly lead to symptoms of panic (anxiety) in the short term, although there is very little evidence to suggest that cannabis use leads to longterm anxiety disorders. The symptoms of panic (and associated paranoia) can and usually do subside when cannabis is no longer used.
One major concern about cannabis use is its possible effects on young people.
Research shows that the earlier people start using drugs, the more likely they are to go on to experiment with other drugs. In addition, when young people start using cannabis regularly, they often lose interest and are not motivated at school. The effects of cannabis can interfere with learning by impairing thinking, reading comprehension, and verbal and mathematical skills. Research shows that students do not remember what they have learned when they are “high”. Cannabis can be quite addictive when used frequently and can lead to a daily habit. This has a huge effect on relationships, can cause financial stress and can be a hard habit to kick.
Some of the symptoms of withdrawal from frequent cannabis use are:
It is quite natural to experience cravings (this can sometimes be associated with nicotine withdrawal as well). It is recommended that relapse prevention strategies be put in place to help with these cravings. Your local drug and alcohol agency worker can help with these.
Women who smoke cannabis often do so with tobacco, and therefore pose all the risks also associated with tobacco use.
The active ingredient of cannabis (THC) does cross the placenta and is stored in the amniotic fluid that the baby lives in prior to birth. Cannabis use during pregnancy has been known to be associated with low birth weight, early on-set labour and respiratory problems in the child at birth which can lead to long-term complications and infections.
Try to reduce your use, any reduction of use can lessen the effects on the baby throughout the pregnancy and after birth.
It is illegal to use, possess, grow or sell cannabis in Australia. The penalties for cannabis offences are different in each state and territory. In Victoria a police officer may give someone a caution and offer them the opportunity to attend a cannabis education program if they are caught with no more than 50 grams of cannabis. Like NSW, only two cautions are allowed to be given to the one person. In other states cannabis has been decriminalised, however nowhere is it legalised.
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