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Cannabis: Just The Facts

Know the effects and risks of Cannabis!

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been tried by about 10 million people in the UK. It is the most wisely used illegal drug in Britain. The numbers using cannabis though are falling, especially among 16 to 24-year-olds. The drug is made from the cannabis plant, which grows wild in many parts of the world and also cultivated in Britain. Cannabis comes in several different forms.

‘Weed’ or ‘grass’ is made from the dried leaves and flowers which are produced by the female plant. It resembles dried herbs. ‘Skunk’ is also produced from the female plant, but is  more potent than ‘grass’. Then there’s resin or ‘hash’ which is extracted from the flowers and resembles a soft, black or brown lump. Cannabis also comes as an oil although this is much less common. A chemical called THC is the main ingredient in cannabis. It makes you feel happy and relaxed. However, it can also alter your senses leading to hallucinations (see: How Cannabis Affects Your Health). The vast majority of cannabis supplied on the UK market comes from illegal cannabis farms which are often located in peoples homes or in warehouses. The impact of this is that it has a higher THC content. There’s conflicting evidence as to whether or not cannabis is actually becoming stronger.

The Law

Cannabis may be easily available but it’s also a Class B drug. That means you could end up with a police caution if you are caught with it for the first time. If you’ve been found in possession of cannabis before, then you face a fine or arrest. Possession is illegal, even if you’re using it for pain relief. The penalty for police finding you with the drug is up to five years in prison. Smoking cannabis in your house is also illegal.

If you’re in the car with someone who is smoking cannabis and if you’re caught driving with even a low amount of cannabis in your blood from having smoked it days or even weeks before, there is a minimum 12 month driving ban and a hefty fine or up to 6 months in prison.

Carrying large amounts of the drug also puts you at risk of being charged with intent to supply.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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