Last updated : March 28, 2017
Cannabis is a depressant drug, which means it slows down messages travelling between your brain and body. When large doses of cannabis are taken, it may also produce hallucinogenic effects. The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol).1
Marijuana, yarndi, pot, weed, hash, dope, gunja, joint, stick, chronic, cone, choof, dabs, dabbing, BHO.
Cannabis is usually smoked or eaten and comes in 3 different forms:
It takes about an hour to feel the effects of eating cannabis, which means it’s easy to have too much. If it’s smoked, the effects are usually felt straight away.2,3 However, smoking can cause a number of negative side effects, especially later in life.
Cannabis can also come in synthetic form, which may be more harmful than real cannabis.
Cannabis may also be refined into what are known as dabs or dabbing, slang names for concentrated butane hash oil (or BHO), a relatively new method of administering/ingesting cannabis that involves the inhalation of highly concentrated THC.
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Cannabis affects everyone differently, based on:
The effects of cannabis may be felt immediately if smoked, or within an hour or two if eaten and effects may include:
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you may also experience:
Regular use of cannabis may eventually cause:
Smoking cannabis can also cause:
Those with a family history of mental illness are more likely to also experience anxiety, depression and psychotic symptoms after using cannabis. Psychotic symptoms include delusions, hallucinations and seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted.
The effects of taking cannabis with other drugs − including over-the-counter or prescribed medications − can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Cannabis + alcohol: nausea, vomiting, panic, anxiety and paranoia.4
Cannabis is sometimes used to help with the ‘come down’ effects of stimulant drugs, such as ice, speed and ecstasy. However, doing this can cause reduced motivation, poor memory, mental health problems and dependency on both drugs.5
Giving up cannabis after using it for a long time is challenging, because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms may last for only a week, but sleep may be affected for longer. Symptoms include:
Broadly speaking, medicinal cannabis is cannabis prescribed to relieve the symptoms of a medical condition, such as epilepsy. It is important to make the distinction between medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis. Recreational cannabis is the form of cannabis that people use to get high. Recently legislation has been passed in Australia to facilitate access to medicinal cannabis for certain medical conditions.
anxiety, blurred vision, clumsiness, dry mouth, excitement, fast heart rate, feeling sleepy, increased appetite, low blood pressure, paranoia, quite mood, reflective mood, relaxation, slower reflexes, spontaneous laughter.