This information is available from PAD’s Parent & Community Handbook, 7th edition.
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Cannabis is the third most popular drug used by youth. Marijuana (or “weed” or “pot”), hashish and hash oil are all from the cannabis plant. THC (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol) is the active ingredient in cannabis that changes the mood and distorts the perceptions of the user. Levels of THC found in cannabis have more than doubled in the last twenty years; THC is more concentrated in hash and hash oil. As with any illicit drug, the exact strength of and additives to the drug can vary widely.
Methods of Use:
- Marijuana comes from the dried buds, leaves, stems and seeds of the plant and somewhat resembles the herb oregano. It is smoked in pipes or in hand-rolled cigarettes, called “joints” or filled into hollowed-out cigars called “blunts”. It is sometimes cooked in foods or baked goods.
- Hashish is a dried, caked resinous substance, found as soft or hard chunks which range in colour from “blonde” to black. It is usually mixed with tobacco and smoked in pipes or joints.
- Hash oil is an oily extract, usually stored in small glass containers called vials.
Cannabis Paraphernalia (Equipment and Accessories):
- Small smoking pipes, often ornate, made of metal, wood, stone or plastic
- Rolling papers which can be plain, coloured, decorated or flavoured
- Water pipes, called “bongs”, that are made with hollow cylinders or round bulbs or bubbles or a combination of the two
- Homemade smoking and water pipes made from pop cans or bottles
- Small “baggies” or sealable plastic bags for holding the dried leaves
Short-term Effects of Using Cannabis:
- the person will get a “high” feeling, often becoming more relaxed and talkative, less concerned about what he does or says
- the person’s pulse rate, heart beat and blood pressure will rise; his eyes may get red
- after a while, the person will become quiet and sleepy
- if the person is drinking or using other drugs as well as cannabis, he or she may not be able to think clearly and his or her behaviour may change in ways that are not consistent with the effects of cannabis use alone
- short-term memory, concentration and ability to think clearly will be impaired
- the person may become anxious, confused, restless, excited; he may start seeing things and become anxious or panicky
Cannabis and Teens:
- frequent marijuana use beginning in the teen years has been linked to lower IQ scores in adults
- with repeated use there is an increased risk of mental health problems, such as psychosis, depression and anxiety
- youth who are depressed or anxious are also more likely to use marijuana to deal with their symptoms
- nearly 12% of teenage drivers report driving after smoking marijuana – doubling their risk of a crash