Cannabis

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK.

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Cannabis is a naturally occurring drug, made from the cannabis plant. The main active chemical is tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC for short), which is the ingredient that can make you feel relaxed and happy. THC can also make you hallucinate, altering your senses and perspective. 

Many people think that because cannabis is naturally occurring, it is safe to use. Cannabis effects how your brain works; it can make it difficult for you to concentrate and learn, cause memory loss and make you feel less motivated. It has also been linked with a number of mental health issues. 

How cannabis makes you feel

Cannabis is classed as a sedating and hallucinogenic drug and has a number of different effects. These effects can be different for each individual, but include:

  • Relaxed, chilled out and happy
  • Talkative and giggly
  • It can make you increasingly aware of your senses, where colours may look more vivid and music may sound better
  • The hallucinogenic effects can give you a feeling of time slowing down
  • It can make you feel hungry, sometimes called ‘getting the munchies’
  • Light headed, faint and sick, sometimes called ‘a whitey’
  • Feelings of anxiety, suspicion, anxiety, panic and paranoia

The law

  • Cannabis is a Class B drug – it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell to others
  • Possession is illegal even if you are using it for pain relief. The penalty is up to five years in prison
  • Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you fourteen years in prison and an unlimited fine

Short-term effects

  • Sensory distortion
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Poor coordination of movement
  • Lowered reaction time
  • After an initial 'up', the user feels sleepy or depressed 
  • Increased heartbeat (and risk of heart attack)

Longer-term effects

  • Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.)
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Growth disorders
  • Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
  • Reduction of male sex hormones
  • Rapid destruction of lung fibres and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent
  • Reduced sexual capacity
  • Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information
  • Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Inability to understand things clearly
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