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What is cannabis?

Cannabis is a natural substance from the cannabis (or marijuana) plant. Cannabis is also known as: marijuana, draw, dope, puff, hash, pot, spliff, wacky backy or weed.

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug among 11-25 year olds.

What does cannabis look like?

The drug comes in either; small, solid, brown lumps (which look a bit like liquorice) known as resin or as leaves, stalks and seeds (from the cannabis plant) known as grass. Grass looks like green/brown tobacco. Cannabis may also come as sticky dark oil.

How is cannabis taken?

Cannabis is usually rolled with tobacco and smoked in a hand-rolled cigarette called a spliff, reefer or joint. Cannabis can also be smoked on it’s own in a special pipe, brewed into a drink or cooked and eaten in food. Cooking and eating cannabis makes the effects more intense and harder to control.

What are the immediate effects of taking cannabis?

Taking cannabis makes most users feel more sociable, relaxed, talkative and giggly. It heightens the users’ senses, especially when it comes to colours, taste and music. Cannabis can also bring on food cravings (often referred to as the munchies).

Cannabis can affect the users short-term memory and ability to concentrate. It can also leave the user feeling paranoid, tired and lacking energy.

Cannabis impairs driving skills therefore increasing the risk of accidents, so never get into a car with someone who has just taken cannabis.

Researchers in the US have recently found that people who use cannabis, could reduce their chances of having children. An element of cannabis could overload signals in the brain that are involved with fertility. As a result sperm can become sluggish and less likely to break through the surface of the woman’s egg.

What are the long-term effects of taking cannabis?

Smoking cannabis over a long period of time can lead to health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease and bronchitis. Like cigarette smokers, many users find cannabis hard to quit, especially if they mix it with tobacco.

A new report warns that cannabis is becoming more powerful and can lead to long term health problems. Scientists believe that cannabis can have a serious effect on mental health. They say cannabis can provoke negative mood changes and weaken the immune system. Scientists also say that cannabis is 5 times more damaging to the lungs than cigarettes. However, the long term health risks may not be fully understood for 10-20 years.

What class drug is cannabis?

The Government reclassified cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug on 29th January 2004 across the United Kingdom. It is illegal to have, give away or deal in Class C drugs, and to grow cannabis plants. The maximun penalty for possesion is 2 years in jail plus an unlimited fine. The maximum penalty for supplying or intent to supply is 14 years in jail plus an unlimited fine.

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