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Last updated : May 8, 2019
Cannabis is classified as a cannabinoid drug. The exact number of different cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant is still being researched, but it primarily contains the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD).1
Marijuana, yarndi, pot, weed, hash, dope, gunja, joint, stick, chronic, cone, choof, dabs, dabbing, BHO.
Cannabis can be smoked, eaten or vaporized and comes in different forms. Users report that the subjective effects of cannabis vary significantly depending on the form consumed.2
Cannabis can be prepared into various foods generally called ‘edibles’. It takes between 1-3 hours to feel the effects after eating cannabis.2 Impatient or naïve users may believe they have not taken enough to feel the effects, and if they consume more they may find later that the psychoactive effects are unpleasantly strong. When edible products have inconsistent levels of THC even experienced users may find it difficult to regulate the amount consumed.
When smoked or vaporized, the effects are usually felt straight away.3 There are health concerns about the impact of smoking, especially in the long term, especially if mixed with tobacco.
Cannabis can also come in synthetic form, which may be more harmful than real cannabis.
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 every individual differently. Even the same person may have a different experience on separate occasions or over the course of their life. Some of the factors that influence these differences appear to be:3,4
The effects of cannabis vary between people, and may even be different for the same person at different times. Some people report feelings of relaxation and euphoria while other people report experiences of anxiety and paranoia.4
The effects of cannabis may be felt immediately if smoked, or within an hour or two if eaten and effects may include:3,4
If large amount, strong batch, or concentrated form is consumed, you may be more likely to also experience:2,3,4
Long-term effects are dependent on how much and how often the cannabis is consumed and may also be affected by how the cannabis is consumed (e.g. vaporising a concentrate versus smoking the flower).2 Heavy, regular use of cannabis may eventually cause:5,6
Smoking cannabis may increase the likelihood of experiencing
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.
Cannabis + alcohol: nausea, vomiting.4
Cannabis is sometimes used to help with the ‘come down’ effects of stimulant drugs, such as ice, speed and ecstasy.
Giving up cannabis after regular, heavy use over 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:8
Medicinal cannabis is cannabis prescribed to relieve the symptoms of a medical condition, such as epilepsy. It is quality-controlled product with labelled levels of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. 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.