There is a substance which is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK. It is referred to by many different names, marijuana, pot and dope, to weed, grass, hash and Mary Jane, among others. It is a naturally occurring drug, made from the plant which bears its name, but how much do you know about cannabis?
It is derived from the cannabis plant, otherwise known as cannabis sativa, a flowering plant from the Cannabaceae family. A variety of compounds such as hashish and hash oil are extracted from the plant. It is said to originate from and be indigenous to both South and Central Asia, meaning it grows wild in temperate and tropical climates. However, the fact is the plant can now be grown and cultivated almost anywhere, due to innovations in indoor hydroponic technology.
The principal active ingredient of cannabis, its main psychoactive constituent, is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It is the mind-altering chemical in the plant which brings on most of the psychological effects of marijuana. It replicates the cannabinoid chemicals produced naturally by the human body.
Cannabinoid receptors focus on sections of the brain dealing with thinking, memory and coordination as well as pleasure and sensory and time perception. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC connects to these cannabinoid receptors and triggers them, affecting those parts of the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol makes a person feel as if they are high.
Cannabis is a Class B drug which comes in many different forms, with varying levels of THC. There is marijuana, fashioned from dried flowers and the leaves of the cannabis plant. Hashish comes from a secreted gum or resin from the plant, while Hash, with the highest content of THC, is made of a thick oil derived from hashish.
Cannabis is most commonly smoked in a hand-rolled cigarette known as a joint or a water pipe often called a bong. There are many common misconceptions; some would say urban myths about taking cannabis. They think it is safe to use because it is natural. Some people consider it almost commonplace as if it is not a serious drug. They often dispute the claim it can be a gateway drug, leading you to take more dangerous substances like heroin or cocaine. The drug affects people in many ways. There is the outward sheen on the surface, the initial high you were looking for, but that doesn’t change the fact taking cannabis can have a long-lasting detrimental impact on your mental and physical health, as well as affecting your working and personal relationships. It can be hard for some people to imagine how much taking cannabis could disrupt your life.
Initially, cannabis can make you feel elated, chilled out and relaxed. It can make you feel happy and euphoric and put you at ease. You can become excitable and talkative and get a fit of the giggles where you cannot stop laughing, but there is nothing funny about it. It is also commonplace to feel incredibly hungry when you smoke cannabis. It is as if you have been afflicted with sudden hunger pangs, where you have a craving to get something to eat and go snacking, known as “the munchies”.
If you use cannabis, you could experience harmful after effects which could be the beginning of a long-term medical problem. It could even happen the first time you take it. You could feel faint, light-headed or unwell if you are not used to it. It can only take one or two drags on a joint to have you may see a bright white light in your eyes, often referred to as a “whitey”. It is a frightening phenomenon commonly associated with smoking Cannabis.
There are various other negatives side effects to taking the drug you should be aware of. Cannabis can make you feel drowsy and lethargic as if you have no energy. It can also alter your brain chemistry and how it works, as it is considered a sedative and hallucinogenic. You may see or hear things which are not there, which can be terrifying. If you use cannabis, you could have memory problems and find it hard to get to sleep. It can alter your mood and behaviour and affect your motivation.
Users often can lose concentration and become disinterested in other aspects of their life, from hobbies and pastimes, to even their family life and work. They can become disassociated, irritable and aggressive, as well as feeling suspicious and panicky. It is not unheard of for users to suffer panic attacks. They can also suffer from anxiety, depression and paranoia for hours or days at a time, while they continue to take cannabis. The drug has also been linked with mental health issues. It has been said if you take it over a long period of time, there is a greater chance of developing schizophrenia, or suffering a relapse if you are already living with the illness.
If you smoke cannabis with tobacco, you also run the risks of illnesses associated with smoking, from coughing and bronchitis to chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD). There is a possibility of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer, alongside other conditions.
Cannabis has become so widespread these days that some people do not fully appreciate the dangers. It is almost seen as part of everyday life or an active social scene, like having a drink. However, you can build up an addiction to cannabis if you take it long enough. It is also possible to develop a tolerance to the drug where you will have to take more for the desired effect. If you stop taking cannabis, you could experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, from cravings and mood swings to irritability and restlessness.
However, if you wish to stop taking cannabis, you could speak to your GP or choose drug detox therapy by contacting Rehab Guide. You could decide on an outpatient or inpatient rehab treatment, where you can undergo detoxification and counselling as part of an ongoing rehabilitation programme. It could be your first step to getting clean and putting your cannabis dependency under control.