Drug Awareness of the Month: Cannabis
TWhat is Cannabis? Cannabis also known as he Harm Reduction Pillar of the Swift Current and District Drug Task Force would like to share the following information regarding the widely used drug cannabis. marijuana has a variety of street names: grass, weed, pot, dope, ganja and others. These all come from the cannabis plant. Hashish also known as hash and hash oil are also derived from this plant. Marijuana is the dried flower buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. The colors range from grayish green to greenish brown. Hashish is the dried, compressed resin of cannabis flower tops and ranges in color from brown to black and is sold in chunks. Hash oil is made by boiling cannabis flower tops or resin in an organic solvent which produces a sticky reddish-brown or green substance. What Makes You High? Marijuana has psychoactive effects which means it works on the brain. The main psychoactive ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and it affects parts of the brain that are linked to pain sensation, emotion and movement. How you feel depends of the strength of the cannabis, how much you have used, how often you use it and whether you smoke it or ingest it. When people use cannabis they describe a sense of euphoria and they become very relaxed. You may see them giggle a lot, have cravings for certain foods and eventually become drowsy. People’s perceptions are heightened they perceive colors as more bright or music as more distinct. How Do You Tell If Someone Has Used Cannabis? People who have used cannabis may have a dis- torted sense of time and space. They may have impaired coordination and balance, rapid heartbeat, red eyes or glazed eyes and dilated pupils. Usually you can smell it on their clothes or in their hair as cannabis has a distinct pungent odour when smoked. Who Uses Cannabis? Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug among Canadians and Canadian youth ages 15 to 24 years of age. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse reports the number of youth who have used cannabis in the past years is three times higher than adults 25 years and older. Yes it is. Some people are psychologically addicted and become very anxious when they cannot have it. Others are physically addicted and have problems sleeping, they may get anxious or irritable if they cannot have it. What Are The Harms Of Cannabis? Cannabis smoke contains seven times more tar and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke and since people inhale it deeply to get the full effects it increases the risk of cancer. Using cannabis for too many years makes it harder to pay attention, remember things and learn. People who are at risk of schizophrenia, cannabis can bring on the symptoms sooner. Large doses of marijuana can cause people to hallucinate, become paranoid or believe things that are not true. Did you know there are at least 400 chemicals in cannabis?
References: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Cannabis, 2003, 2012
Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Do you know about “weed”?; Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Is Cannabis Addictive?
How Does It Make You Feel?