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Cannabis: The Facts

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A.K.A: weed, skunk, sinsemilla, sensi, resin, Puff, Pot, Marijuana, herb, hashish, hash, grass, ganja, draw, Dope, Bud, bhang.

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug here in the UK. It can be rolled with tobacco in cigarette paper and smoked, it can be smoked through a pipe or bong, and it can be mixed into food and drink like tea and brownies. There has been constant debate around cannabis; over whether it should be illegal, over what classification it should be, and over whether it can possibly do more good than harm. TNS gives you a brief overview of the country’s most common drug...

History

Cannabis is believed to have been used as a drug for over 4,000 years. Its use and euphoria-inducing side effects have been widely reported throughout history, and grown and used openly in most parts of the world at one time or another. Cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world, and has been since 1928 in the UK.

Effects

It can relax you: A big draw of cannabis for a lot of people is that it is an effective way to wind down and relax. People are left feeling chilled and often happy after taking it.

Social lubricant: In company, taking cannabis can make you extremely talkative and very giggly.

The Munchies: A common side effect of taking cannabis is feeling really hungry, often referred to as ‘the munchies’.

Hallucination: A heavy dose can mess with people’s senses – whether it’s becoming more aware of smells, sights and sounds, more conscious of how things feel, or suffering from a severe distortion of time.

Paranoia: Cannabis can make you unnecessarily suspicious of the people you’re with. It can also lead to anxiety and sometimes develop into outright panic.

Dangers

It’s natural: People believe that because cannabis comes from a natural source – the cannabis plant – it isn’t harmful. This is dangerous in itself, as the risks of taking cannabis are very real.

Messing with your mind: The paranoia that sometimes arises from taking cannabis can become worse the more of it you take. Alongside this, for people suffering from mental illness like schizophrenia, or having a history of it in their family, it can seriously exacerbate the disease or make the likelihood of being diagnosed with it far greater.  

Loss of concentration: Prolonged and regular use of cannabis can have serious effects on the brain. It makes concentrating and learning far more difficult, and can also rob people of their motivation and drive. This danger is particularly prevalent in the young, as the areas of the brain that are responsible for focusing aren’t fully developed.

Smoking: Mixing cannabis with tobacco and smoking it brings with it all the risks of smoking, such as heart and lung disease. The two substances contain many of the same chemicals, so cannabis can lead to breathing difficulties and cancers in the same way that cigarettes can.

Fertility: Regular use of cannabis can cut a man’s sperm count significantly, and it can suppress ovulation in women. Taking cannabis during pregnancy can also affect the baby in harmful ways, including making the baby smaller.

Cutting: As with most drugs, cannabis can be ‘cut’ with other materials to make the product heavier, so that you get less drugs for your money. Some contaminants include henna, aluminium, and even lead.

Drinking and cannabis: When combining cannabis and alcohol, accidents are 16 times more likely.

Legal consequences

Classification: Cannabis is a Class B drug. Britain reclassified it as a Class C drug in 2004, before making it Class B again in 2009.

Possession: Being caught with cannabis can land you with up to five years in prison.

Supplying: Selling cannabis can lead to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Giving the drug away can be seen as ‘supplying’ in the eyes of the law.

Driving: Driving whilst high is just as illegal as driving whilst drunk. Cannabis can also stay in your system, so you may still be driving illegally on the day after taking it.

Letting it happen: If people are smoking cannabis on your property, you could get in trouble with the law for it. Whether it’s your club or just your house, you’re still responsible.

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