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Cannabis, or marijuana, is the most commonly used illegal drug. It comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis use can cause drug-induced psychosis, trigger the first episode of a psychotic illness or make a pre-existing psychotic illness worse. People who have, or may be at risk of developing, a psychotic illness should not use cannabis. In recent years, a wide range of synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to cannabis, have also been available in Australia. Synthetic cannabis is made up of chemicals that are deed to activate the same chemical systems in the brain as THC.
These drugs are marketed as having similar physical and psychological effects as cannabis, but can have more unpredictable effects and are potentially more harmful than cannabis. Medicinal cannabis refers to approved, quality assured cannabis products prescribed by your doctor and taken to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or the side effects of treatment. about medicinal cannabis. Cannabis is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs do not necessarily make you feel depressed.
Rather, they slow down your central nervous system and the messages going between your brain and your body. Cannabis has different effects on different people. The effect can also vary according to the mood or atmosphere in which the person uses it.
The immediate effects of cannabis can last approximately two to three hours and may include:. It may even bring on psychotic symptoms in people who are predisposed to psychosis if they have a personal or family history of psychosis. Cannabis use can cause a condition known as drug-induced psychosis. Symptoms usually appear quickly and last a few days until the effects of the cannabis wear off.
Disorientation, memory problems and hallucinations seeing or hearing things that are not really there are the most common symptoms. The effects of cannabis begin within minutes and can last several hours. However, for people with a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia , the effects can be longer lasting and more intense.
If someone has a predisposition to a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, use of drugs such as cannabis may trigger the first episode in what can be a lifelong, disabling condition. There is increasing evidence that regular cannabis use precedes and causes higher rates of psychotic illness. Psychotic illnesses are characterised by:. When people experience psychotic symptoms, they are unable to distinguish what is real.
They lose contact with reality. People with a psychotic illness who use drugs experience more delusions, hallucinations and other symptoms. They have a higher rate of hospitalisation for psychosis, and treatment is generally less effective for them. People with a psychotic illness should not use cannabis. Cannabis smoke has a higher concentration of certain cancer-causing carcinogenic agents than the smoke from tobacco. Evidence suggests that cannabis may cause cancers of the lung and the aerodigestive tract which includes the respiratory tract and the upper digestive tract.
Generally speaking, people who start smoking cannabis earlier early adolescence and smoke heavily are more likely to have problems as a result. These may be mental health problems, or more general life problems, like conflict at home, school or work, financial problems and memory problems. A person who uses cannabis regularly can develop a tolerance to the drug. This means the person has to take larger and larger quantities to get the same effect.
Some people can become psychologically or physically dependent or both on cannabis. The best way to avoid the harmful effects of cannabis is not to use it, especially for people who have experienced a psychotic episode in the past or who have a family history of psychosis. This has been produced in consultation with and approved by:. Asking for help when you first suspect you have an alcohol or drug problem is important. If you think you have an addiction, speak to your local doctor or phone DirectLine.
The size of a standard drink can vary according to the type of alcohol. Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain. Prolonged misuse of steroids can cause liver damage and severe mood swings. Benzodiazepines tranquillisers are highly addictive and should only be used for certain conditions in a short-term or emergency situation.
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The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. Home Drugs. Cannabis marijuana. Actions for this Listen Print. Summary Read the full fact sheet. On this . Types of cannabis Effects of cannabis use Cannabis and psychosis Risks from long-term cannabis use Preventing the negative health effects of cannabis Where to get help Things to remember. Types of cannabis There are several forms of cannabis, including: marijuana — the most common and least concentrated form.
It is made from dried plant leaves and flowers. Marijuana looks like chopped grass and ranges in colour from grey-green to greenish-brown. It is usually smoked in a water pipe bong , pipe or hand-rolled cigarette t hashish — small blocks of dried cannabis resin. Blocks range in colour from light brown to nearly black. The concentration of THC in hashish is higher than in marijuana hash oil — a thick, oily liquid extracted from hashish, ranging in colour from golden-brown to black. It is usually spread on the tip or paper of cigarettes and then smoked.
Hash oil is more potent than the other forms of cannabis. Synthetic cannabis In recent years, a wide range of synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to cannabis, have also been available in Australia. Medicinal cannabis Medicinal cannabis refers to approved, quality assured cannabis products prescribed by your doctor and taken to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or the side effects of treatment.
Effects of cannabis use Cannabis is a depressant drug. The immediate effects of cannabis can last approximately two to three hours and may include: a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing loss of inhibition reduced concentration and memory distorted perceptions of time, space and distance increased heart rate drowsiness increased appetite increased talkativeness reddened eyes reduced coordination — this makes it dangerous to drive or operate machinery while under the influence of the drug anxiety and paranoia.
Larger doses or stronger forms of cannabis can increase these effects, and can also cause: confusion restlessness feelings of excitement hallucinations anxiety or panic detachment from reality nausea psychosis severe mental illness where the person loses connection with external reality. Cannabis and psychotic illness The effects of cannabis begin within minutes and can last several hours.
Cannabis and first episode of psychosis If someone has a predisposition to a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, use of drugs such as cannabis may trigger the first episode in what can be a lifelong, disabling condition. Risks from long-term cannabis use Cannabis may have additional physical or mental effects on long-term users, including: the risk of asthma, emphysema, shortness of breath, chest infections, and cancers of the throat, mouth and lungs poor concentration, memory loss and learning difficulties depression of the immune system, which increases the risk of developing infections.
Cancer-causing carcinogenic substances in cannabis Cannabis smoke has a higher concentration of certain cancer-causing carcinogenic agents than the smoke from tobacco. Young people and cannabis Generally speaking, people who start smoking cannabis earlier early adolescence and smoke heavily are more likely to have problems as a result.
Cannabis tolerance and dependence A person who uses cannabis regularly can develop a tolerance to the drug. Preventing the negative health effects of cannabis The best way to avoid the harmful effects of cannabis is not to use it, especially for people who have experienced a psychotic episode in the past or who have a family history of psychosis.
Where to get help DirectLine Tel. Cannabis is an illegal drug. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information here. Cannabis and psychosis — information for healthcare workers, Department of Health Victoria. What is psychosis?
Give feedback about this . Was this helpful? Yes No. View all drugs. Related information. Support groups Family Drug Help. Department of Health, Victoria — DirectLine. DrugInfo, Australian Drug Foundation. Content disclaimer Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Reviewed on:Cannabis stimulant or depressant
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Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?