Cannabis is a psychotropic product from the plant Cannabis sativa. It is believed to have been used for thousands of years for medical, religious and social reasons. The stem of the plant (non potent form of cannabis) is used in the manufacture of hemp rope, string, paper, textiles and clothing.
There are male and female plants. The strongest concentration of the psychoactive chemical, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is found in the flowering shoots of the female plant.
A widely used drug with a relatively low potential for harm when compared to heroin, alcohol and tobacco.
Psychological dependency can be associated with frequent cannabis use.
Three forms of cannabis exist: marijuana, hashish and hashish oil.
Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant and is usually the least potent of the three.
Hashish forms as a sticky oil coating on the flowering tops of the plant which is collected and made into small blocks of dried resin. The concentration of THC is greater thus producing a stronger effect.
Hashish oil is the extraction from the resin of the cannabis plant and is the most powerful of all the cannabis forms.
Marijuana is usually smoked in hand rolled cigarettes or in a pipe. The concentrated form of hashish, or hashish oil, is often smoked with ordinary cigarettes or incorporated into food substances such as cakes and biscuits and ingested.
Effects vary due to a number of factors in relation to the person, method of administration, cannabis form and frequency and period of use. Some effects can include euphoria, relaxation, relief from stress and pain, increased appetite, impaired motor skills, confusion, loss of concentration and decreased motivation.
Effects normally reach their peak within 30 minutes and can last up to 3 hours.
Withdrawal following long term use can include headaches, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.
Like other burnt inhalations cannabis contains carcinogens, tar and carbon monoxide. This can result in respiratory complications, cardiovascular effects and cancer. A single cannabis cigarette contains the same amount of tar and other noxious substances as approximately 14- 16 filtered cigarettes.
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