Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain. Made from parts of the cannabis plant, it’s a naturally occurring drug. It is a mild sedative (often causing a chilled out feeling or actual sleepiness) and it’s also a mild hallucinogen (meaning you may experience a state where you see objects and reality in a distorted way and may even hallucinate). The main active compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some people may feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, while others have one puff and feel sick. Others get the giggles and may become talkative. Hunger pangs are common and are known as ‘getting the munchies’. Users may become more aware of their senses or get a feeling of slowing of time, which are due to its hallucinogenic effects. Stronger ‘joints’ (e.g. typically when skunk or sinsemilla is used) may have more powerful effects. Some users may moderate this effect by actually inhaling and using less strong cannabis; but others may find it becomes tempting to ‘binge smoke’ them.
The regular use of cannabis is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia. If the recent increase in availability of stronger forms of cannabis does lead to an increase in total use by some people, this might also lead to an increase in their future risk of developing mental health problems. As with other drugs, dependence on cannabis is influenced by a number of factors, including how long you’ve been using it, how much you use and whether you are just more prone to become dependent.
You may find you have difficulty stopping regular use and you may experience psychological and physical withdrawals when you do stop. The withdrawals can include cravings for cannabis irritability, mood changes; appetite disturbance, weight loss, difficulty sleeping and even sweating, shaking and diarrhea in some people. If you’ve only been using for a short while there should be no problem stopping but with continued regular use of cannabis, this can become more difficult. You’re also at risk of getting addicted to nicotine if you roll your spiffs with tobacco.