Along with alcohol and tobacco, cannabis is the most commonly used drug by young people accessing support services. An understanding of the basic facts is therefore crucial.

WHAT

Cannabis is an illegal depressant drug derived from Indian hemp plants. One of the main active chemicals in cannabis is THC [delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol] but there are over 40 cannibinoid chemicals (including CBD-cannabidiol) that can play a role in the effects of Cannabis.

OTHER NAMES

Grass, pot, weed, hash, reefer, dope, herb, mull, Buddha, ganja, joint, stick, buckets, cones, skunk, hydro, yarndi, smoke, hooch, green.

HOW COMMON IS USE?

Over 35.4 per cent of Australians over age 12 have used cannabis in their lifetime although only 10 percent had in the last 12 months (National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2010). IN contrast, the recent census of young Victorians in AOD treatment revealed that 64 per cent of young people had used cannabis in the past 4 weeks and 48 per cent had used it daily.

APPEARANCE

Marijuana – least potent, dried leaves and flowers; hashish – dried cannabis resin, usually a brownish coloured block; and hash oil – potent, thick, oily brownish liquid.

USE

Marijuana is smoked in cigarette form (as a joint), in a pipe or bong. Hashish is added to tobacco, or eaten in cookies and cakes. Hash oil is spread on the tip or paper of a cigarette. Cannabis and hash can also be smoked in vaporisers.

EFFECTS

Talkative, relaxed, decreased concentration, slower reaction times. Auditory and visual hallucinations. Anxiety and panic. High felt within 10-20 minutes, lasting about two hours.

OVERDOSE

No risk of death, however cannabis can exacerbate mental health issues.

COMMON MIXERS

Alcohol, causing nausea, vomiting, panic and paranoia. Also used to assist comedown from stimulants.

SOME COMMON HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES

Encourage a young person to:

  • If smoking, avoid mixing with tobacco
  • Monitor use to avoid overuse
  • Avoid mixing with other depressants

 

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Try the YouthAOD toolbox for further in-depth information or ask YoDAA