It´s easy enough to roll up a joint and it does not pose any great risks, does it?
Cannabis: What’s the score?
Cannabis is also known as marijuana, dope, pot, spliff, hash(ish), weed, puff, grass, ganja, hemp or skunk, which is a much stronger variety. It’s made from the buds or owers of the cannabis plant. It comes as a block of soft, greenish/brown resin or can look like dried herbs.
The cannabis resin is usually mixed with tobacco and smoked in joints. It can be smoked using a bong (a kind of water pipe), eaten (baked in cakes, for example) or drunk in warm drinks.
Highs and lows
You can be high or stoned for up to four hours after taking cannabis. This can make you feel chilled out, sociable, talkative, and giggly. You might feel you have new insights into life and experience touch, sounds, and colours differently. It can also cause a distorted sense of space and time, and you might hallucinate. Cannabis can make you feel hungry, sleepy, or light-headed, and it can dull pain.
Cannabis can cause short-term memory loss, confusion, coordination difficulties, and slower reflexes, which makes driving dangerous. Higher doses can make you feel sick, anxious, paranoid or panicky.
Sex on cannabis
Cannabis can make you feel horny, increase your sense of touch and lower your inhibitions. Orgasms may seem weaker but more sensual and not just felt in the dick. But the drug can also make people feel withdrawn and less interested in sex. If you smoke it with tobacco, you have the same long-term higher risk of erection problems that cigarette smokers have.
A long-term relationship?
You can become dependent on cannabis. It can leave some people with poor memory and less able to concentrate or stay motivated – the classic ‘dope head’. Researchers are looking at the link between cannabis and mental illness, as the drug seems to trigger mental health problems, including schizophrenia, in a small number of people.
Cannabis with other drugs
Tobacco – smoking cannabis with tobacco has a high risk of addiction to nicotine and smoking-related illness like cancer, heart disease, and breathing problems. The risk may be higher because cannabis smokers breathe in deeper and for longer.
Alcohol – using cannabis and alcohol together can have negative effects. You may feel sick or lose track of how much of each substance you’ve taken. This also leaves you open to taking risks you might not otherwise.
HIV drugs – there are no known dangerous interactions. However, one study has shown that marijuana decreases the levels of Atazanavir in the blood.
Cannabis with other drugs
Cannabis smoke contains more harmful substances than cigarette smoke.
Using bongs is more harmful than joints because you breathe in more drug and smoke.
Eating cannabis gets around these drawbacks but it’s harder to control the dose and the effects can be much stronger than you might want.
The law in the UK
Cannabis is illegal – it’s a Class B drug. Possession can mean up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Intending to supply cannabis, which includes giving it to your mates, can mean up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
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