What is cannabis?

  • Cannabis sativa, also known as hemp, is a species of the Cannabinaceae family of plants.
  • Cannabis contains the chemical compound THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is believed to be responsible for most of the characteristic psychoactive effects of cannabis also known as the “high” some people feel.
  • The dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant are known as marijuana.

What are the effects of recreational use of Cannabis?

Marijuana has a range of effects based on the person and the strength.  Cannabis can lead to feelings of relaxation and many medical researchers are showing that it is not a harmless natural “high” that it had claimed to be. There are cases where the use of Cannabis can heighten anxiety, paranoia leading to confusion or hallucination. The younger
the user the more risks they are prone to as their brains are still developing.

Cannabis was thought to be non-addictive but current evidence shows that 10% of regular users have a dependency on it. THC can be addictive for some people but it is possible for regular users to quit with a few withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis addiction is a real threat to people’s lives. By being “high” on Cannabis, the person is impairing their memory as well as their cognitive ability and can last up to 20 days of being in a person’s system. People who smoke cannabis regularly are likely to develop bronchitis.

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:
    • distorted perceptions of time and space.
    • increased pulse and heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils,
      and often increased appetite.
    • impaired coordination and concentration.
    •  anxiousness, panic,
      self-consciousness and paranoid thoughts.
  • People who use large quantities of cannabis may become sedated or
    disoriented. High doses 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
    potentially stored in fat cells for several months.
  • irritation to the lungs, risk of developing chronic bronchitis
  • decreased concentration levels, reduced short-term memory and
    difficulties with thinking and learning (resolved if cannabis use stops).
  • decreased sex drive in some people. Chronic use can lower sperm
    count in males and lead to irregular periods in females (resolved if
    cannabis use stops).
  • dependence on cannabis – compulsive need to use the drug, coupled
    with problems associated with chronic drug use.
  • Intense nausea and vomiting
  • Faster rate which increases the risk of an individual having a heart attack 
  • Depression

How does marijuana affect teens?

Regular marijuana use during the teen years has been linked to:

  • Lowers the teenagers IQ
  • Changes to areas of the brain involved
    with learning, memory, and concentration.
  • Leads to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems
  • Many teen abusers drop out of school and have poor performance at university.
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