Cannabis / Marijuana

Other Names:
Hash, pot, weed, Ganja, grass, dope, spliff, blow, Mary Jane, Hashish, Hash oil, blunt, skunk, superweed

Common Chinese names: 大麻 (dai ma)

Type of Drug:
Hallucinogen & Depressant

Herbal cannabis (hash): dried plant material dull, green-brown colour and has a very pungent smell
Cannabis resin (hashish): dried resin, brown-black colour, sticky rock-like, rather hard, but not brittle
Cannabis oil (hash oil): very potent viscous liquid; varies in odour depending on potency and can range in colour from clear-yellow-dark brown-black

Reports have indicated that, on occasion, confiscated herbal cannabis with a gritty texture had been sprayed with glass to alter its look and weight. Furthermore, cannabis resin was found to be cut with other substances to increase its bulk and thus multiply profits. The contaminants may include a variety of substances (e.g. henna, turpentine, boot polish, and even animal poo) which were smoked and inhaled along with the cannabis resin.

How is it used:
To treat sufferers of HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and certain patients with chronic illnesses etc…

Herbal cannabis is usually smoked in a rolled up cigarette (otherwise known as 'joint'/'blunt') or in a pipe and can be mixed with tobacco. It can also be ingested. Cannabis resin is usually put into a pipe and smoked, whilst a couple of drops of cannabis oil can usually be applied to cigarettes and smoked.

Typical side effects:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Relaxed inhibitions
- Physically inactive
- Increased appetite
- Disorientation
- Dry mouth & throat
- Dizziness & drowsiness
- Increased visual & auditory awareness
- Impairs cognitive functions (e.g. impaired learning, memory and judgement)
- Reduced concentration
- Impaired motor coordination
- Attention deficit
- Subtle effects on mental and physical functioning may last for days
- Feelings of confusion and anxiety

Withdrawal symptoms:
Withdrawal effects can include irritability, mood changes; appetite disturbance, weight fluctuations, difficulty sleeping and even sweating, shaking and diarrhoea in some people.

Long Term Effects:
Some research suggests that the prolonged use of cannabis may lead to greater impairments on cognitive functions (e.g. learning, attention and memory processes). These changes may become permanent and could affect daily life. Furthermore, as with all drug misuse, cannabis tolerance and dependence can also develop.

Users who smoke cannabis are at risk of damaging epithelial tissue of the airways (e.g. trachea, major bronchi) and are at increased risk of bronchitis. Users who constantly mix and smoke tobacco and cannabis are not only susceptible to nicotine addiction but are also at risk of developing all the associated health problems of cigarette smoking. Additionally, on-going research is being conducted to establish a link between exacerbating symptoms of schizophrenia in affected individuals and cannabis use.