Cannabis

THE RISKS
  • The risks

  • Impurities

  • Getting hooked

Cannabis can mess with your mind
Cannabis can mess with your mind and with your mood. It can disturb your sleep and can make you depressed. Some will become anxious, panicky, and even aggressive. You might see or hear things which are not there (known as hallucinations) which may be frightening. For some people, cannabis causes hours or even days of anxiety, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations that usually only settles down after the cannabis is stopped.

  • Cannabis can freak you out - it can cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia.
  • For people with illnesses such as schizophrenia, cannabis can cause a serious relapse.
     
  • Regular cannabis use is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia; and if you have a family background of mental illness, you may also have an increased risk.
     
  • Cannabis can affect the way the brain works. Regular, heavy use makes it difficult to learn and concentrate and research has linked cannabis use to poor exam results. This is a potentially serious risk if you’re young, when the brain is still developing. People who take a lot of cannabis can also find they lack motivation.
  • A recent review of cannabis research published in the British Medical Journal found those driving under the influence of cannabis had nearly double the risk of a crash.

Cannabis can mess with your body.

  • Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same chemical 'nasties', so, like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can make asthma worse, can cause wheezing in people without asthma and can even lead to lung cancer.
     
  • When people mix cannabis with tobacco they're also taking on all the risks associated with smoking tobacco, which can range from coughs and chest infections to cancer or heart disease.
  • It can increase the heart rate and affect blood pressure, which can be especially harmful for those with heart disease.
  • It is reported that frequent use of cannabis may affect fertility. It can cut a man's sperm count and can suppress ovulation in women.
  • If you’re pregnant, smoking cannabis may increase the risk of your baby being born smaller than expected.

What is the effect of mixing cannabis and alcohol?

Mixing cannabis with alcohol can have particularly serious consequences - the accident rate is 16 times higher than for cannabis or alcohol alone.

What is cannabis cut with?

Cannabis may be ‘cut’ with other substances to increase the weight and the dealer’s profits.

  • Impurities in cannabis may include a variety of substances, with laboratory-confirmed reports of glass and pesticides being found in herbal forms of cannabis; and with hash/resin frequently being mixed with a range of substances to increase weight and the dealer’s profits. In April 2010, a study, looking into contaminants in drugs reported that there were cases of cannabis being adulterated with henna, lead and aluminium.
  • Any impurities you smoke could be inhaled in to the lungs alongside the wide range of chemicals naturally found in cannabis.
  • Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same chemical 'nasties', so, like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can make asthma worse and can cause wheezing in people without asthma. Smoking it may damage your lungs and if you use it regularly for a long time it may lead to lung cancer.

  • When people mix cannabis with tobacco they're also taking on all the risks associated with smoking tobacco, which can range from coughs and chest infections to cancer or heart disease.

Can you get addicted to cannabis?

The simple answer is ‘yes, people do become dependent on cannabis’. This means you can get 'cravings’ for cannabis, and may have difficulty staying off it even if you recognise using it has started to cause you problems.

And regular users can also get some unpleasant

withdrawal symptoms on stopping, including irritability, mood changes, feeling sick, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping; and even sweating, shaking and diarrhoea in some people.

You’re also at real risk of getting addicted to nicotine, or staying addicted to it, if you roll your spliffs with tobacco.

If you feel that you have a problem with your cannabis use and want to stop or cut down, there are treatment services that can help you.

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