Cannabis is the most widely used illegal substance in the world. One of the main reasons for this is that its relatively easy to produce. It’s made from the plant cannabis sativa. It’s from the different types and parts that various forms of cannabis come. These include hashish or hash, which is cannabis resin, marijuana, sometimes called herb or weed, and skunk, which is a modified often stronger form of herbal cannabis. Cannabis receptors are widespread in the brain. Cannabis stimulates these receptors to produce a feeling of relaxation and altered perception. This is known as getting ‘high’ or being stoned. Your body ‘chills out’ through the effect of the chemicals in cannabis attaching to the cannabis receptors in your brain. THC, the active chemical in cannabis triggers this reaction on unnaturally intense levels. This stays in your brain longer than your body’s natural chemicals making you experience a sedated high, slowing you down for quite some time. Taking it – especially in large consumption – can make you anxious, panicky, and suspicious. It raises your pulse rate, makes eyes bloodshot, decreases blood pressure, increases your appetite and can make you dizzy. The effects can begin within minutes, and depending on how much is taken – can last a few hours. Eating cannabis, the effects may be delayed in kicking in, however because of this, a large dose may be taken in one go, which makes it difficult to avoid unpleasant reactions. Cannabis is often used after consumption of other drugs, such as cocaine, MDMA and ecstasy often after heavy dance sessions – to help relax the user. In the past couple of years, there have been a number of synthetic varieties produced, such as ‘spice’. After consuming cannabis in large amounts, it can lead to forgetfulness, foggy thinking and perceptual distortion. Short-term, it effects the concentration, memory, intellectual and manual dexterity, which is why driving under the influence, is dangerous. Taking it for the first time can cause temporary psychological distress and confusion. The effects can be worsened if the user is feeling particularly depressed or anxious. Physically – inhaling cannabis can negatively impact the respiratory system, and can lead to lung, oral and throat cancer. It can also be a trigger for those with underlying mental health problems. Even though it doesn’t produce a physical dependence, users can experience minor withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis is the most non-medical used drug of all time. Approximately 10 million people in the UK have tried it. It’s currently categorised as a Class B drug – supplying it can mean a prison sentence of up to 14 years and/or an
Unlimited fine. Whilst possession- users could face up to 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.