Cannabis and mental health - About
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is an illegal drug made from the cannabis plant. You can smoke or eat cannabis. You can smoke it on its own or mix it with tobacco to make a ‘joint’ or ‘spliff’. It can also be cooked in food or brewed in tea.
People use cannabis for different reasons. Sometimes they use it to relieve mental or physical symptoms. This is called self medication. It can appear to help short term but can increase problems or create new ones long term.
Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain. But less people are using it than before. Young people are twice as likely to use it than older people.
Cannabis can be called marijuana, dope, draw, ganja, grass, hash, herb, pot, choof and weed.
Stronger types of cannabis can be called skunk, super-skunk, Northern Lights, Early Girl and Jack Herer.
You can find more information about cannabis, what it looks like, how it is used and the law on cannabis on the FRANK website here.
How does cannabis work?
Cannabis will go into your bloodstream when smoked. It will quickly be carried to your brain and stick to your receptors. This will have an effect on your mood and behaviour.
Cannabis contains lots of different chemicals known as cannabinoids. Some examples are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main chemical that affects how your brain works.
Stronger varieties of cannabis such as skunk contain more THC. Skunk has about 2-3 time more THC than cannabis from 30 years ago.5 Evidence suggests that the effects of skunk are faster and stronger than milder cannabis.
CBD can lessen the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC such as hallucinations and paranoia. It can also reduce anxiety. This means that the effects of THC will be lower if there is more CBD in the plant.
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