Marijuana, hash and hash oil come from the Cannabis sativa plant. The main psychoactive (or mind altering) substance of cannabis is a
"cannabinoid" called THC (9-delta tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what makes the user feel 'high'.
Also Known As: acapulco gold, ace, bhang, bud, california sinsemilla, chronic, colombian, dope (cannabis), doobie, ganja, grass, green, hemp, herb, hippy, indian hemp, hydro, jamaican, jive (sticks), joint, kush, marihuana, marijuana, mary jane, mauie wowie, mexican, panama gold, panama red, pot, ragweed, reefer, sativa, sinse, stink, thai sticks, weed hashish, hash, hash oil, honey oil, weed oil.
Marijuana is the dried leaves and flower buds of the plant, but may also contain seeds and stems. The colour can vary from green to grayish-green to brown. It often has a pungent or spicy smell. Users will most frequently smoke it in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints, spliffs), in pipes or water pipes (bongs) or wrapped in cigar tobacco (blunts). It is sometimes cooked with food and eaten.
Hashish or hash is made from resin that is collected and compressed from the Cannabis plant. It can range in colour from blonde to brown to black, and may be soft and pliable or firm and brittle. Hashish that has significant quantities of leaf material in it can also be green. Hashish is generally smoked, but may be eaten like marijuana. It generally contains more THC than marijuana.
Hash oil, also called cannabis oil, is produced by extracting resins from cannabis plant material using an organic solvent. Cannabis oil is usually a thick, sticky liquid and can range in colour from gold, to red, to dark brown. Cannabis oil is generally smoked. The THC content of hash oil is usually higher than that of marijuana.
Hemp is a type of cannabis with very low THC content and is used for its fibre. Industrial uses of hemp include the production of rope, fabric, paper, food and cosmetics.
The amount of THC depends on how the cannabis is prepared.
The amount of THC in marijuana depends on:
Combinations of cannabis and other psychoactive drugs:
Marijuana has not been approved as a therapeutic product in Canada or anywhere else in the world. The safety and usefulness of marijuana for medical uses has not been clearly and scientifically established. Canada does however, have a program that allows seriously ill persons residing in Canada to possess marihuana for their own medical use. Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), people can be authorized to possess a specific amount of marihuana and can be licensed to grow their own marihuana or designate someone else to grow it for them.The MMAR require a person to have the support of a medical practitioner when applying for an authorization to possess marijuana for medical purposes.
A person may be allowed to possess dried marijuana to alleviate symptoms associated with medical conditions, such as:
All other possession and production of marijuana by individuals is illegal.
After using cannabis, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and it travels to the brain. In the brain, THC binds to specific receptors, called cannabinoid receptors. This binding reaction in the brain produces the effects felt by the user.
How quickly cannabis reaches the brain varies. After smoking, the effects are felt almost immediately and last for one to three hours. After eating, it takes about an hour for it to take effect and the effects may last for as long as four hours.
THC is stored in fat cells. It takes a long time to completely clear from the body. Although this does not produce long-lasting psychoactive effects (effects which affect the mind, mood or mental processes), it can result in a positive drug test long after the drug has been taken and the effects have worn off.
The effects are unpredictable. It is different for everyone. The way a person feels after taking cannabis depends on many factors:
As THC enters the brain, users may feel anxious, euphoric, 'high' and/or fearful. Others may feel relaxed and talkative. Some people enjoy the perceptual distortions produced by cannabis; other people find these effects to be unpleasant. When first using cannabis, many people do not experience psychoactive effects (effects which affect the mind, mood or mental processes), but with repeated use they do.
Short-term use of cannabis can produce many other effects:
In addition, a person could potentially experience:
On its own, cannabis intoxication is not lethal. However, cannabis interferes with concentration, perception, reaction time, and coordination. These effects impair a person's ability to drive safely (cars, boats, snow mobiles, etc) or operate any machinery.
Alcohol and cannabis intensify each other's effects. Combined use may result in severe impairment.
Cannabis, either alone or in combination with alcohol, is a factor in many injuries and unintentional deaths.
Cannabis smoke irritates the respiratory passages. This can lead to bronchitis, especially if used regularly. Cannabis smoke has some of the same toxic substances that are found in tobacco smoke that can cause cancer.
Frequent cannabis use affects motivation and concentration. It can interfere with school and job performance.
Long-term heavy use may also precipitate psychosis or schizophrenia in individuals with a genetic predisposition. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder. People with schizophrenia lose touch with reality and may:
Cannabis use can complicate the course and treatment of this disorder, for example it can enhance the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Subtle learning problems have been reported in young children who were exposed to cannabis in the womb.
It may be. Psychological dependence (addiction) to cannabis can develop with regular use and physical dependence may develop in individuals who use high doses daily. Individuals who have developed physical dependence may experience mild withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped abruptly.
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms include:
These symptoms may last for about a week but sleep disturbances may last longer.