What is cannabis?
- Cannabis sativa, also known as hemp, is a species of the Cannabinaceae family of plants.
- Cannabis is also known as Ganja, grass, Hashish, Hemp, Indian hemp, marijuana, Pot, reefer, weed.
- Cannabis contains the chemical compound THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is believed to be responsible for most of the characteristic psychoactive effects of cannabis.
- The dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant are known as marijuana, which can be smoked (through a pipe or bong or hand-rolled into a joint) or taken orally with food (baked in cookies).
- The resinous secretions of the plant are known as hashish, which can be smoked or eaten.
- The fiber of the cannabis plant is cultivated as industrial hemp with uses in textile manufacturing.
- Do not drive, operate machinery, or perform other hazardous activities while using cannabis. It may cause dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.
- Do not drink alcohol while using cannabis. Alcohol will increase dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.
- Cannabis may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, seizure medicines, and muscle relaxants.
- Cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
What are the effects of cannabis?
- The effects experienced by the cannabis user are variable and will depend upon the dose, method of administration, prior experience, any concurrent drug use, personal expectations, mood state and the social environment in which the drug is used.
- Effects of cannabis include:
- an altered state of consciousness. The user may feel “high”, very happy, euphoric, relaxed, sociable and uninhibited.
- distorted perceptions of time and space. The user may feel more sensitive to things around them, and may also experience a more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell and hearing.
- increased pulse and heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and often increased appetite.
- impaired coordination and concentration, making activities such as driving a car or operating machinery difficult and dangerous.
- negative experiences, such as anxiousness, panic, self-consciousness and paranoid thoughts.
- People who use large quantities of cannabis may become sedated or disoriented and may experience toxic psychosis – not knowing who they are, where they are, or what time it is. High doses may also cause fluctuating emotions, fragmentary thoughts, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations and feelings of unreality.
- The effects of cannabis are felt within minutes, reach their peak in 10 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours. THC is highly lipid soluble and can be stored in fat cells potentially for several months. The stored THC is released very slowly, and unevenly, back into the bloodstream.