Drugs A to Z

Cannabis: Factsheet

Cannabis plant
Targeted Drugs:

This resource has undergone expert review.

Year 9–10, Year 11–12
Time Allocated

Partial lesson (under 45mins)





What is Cannabis?

In Australia, cannabis is also known as grass, pot, dope, weed, joints, mull, hydro, yarndi, ganja, bud, or green.

Cannabis is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. The main active ingredient responsible for the ‘high’ produced by cannabis is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Cannabis is produced in three main forms:

  • Cannabis herb (also known as marijuana) - the dried flowering tops/buds and leaves of the cannabis plant.
  • Cannabis resin (also known as hashish) - the resin of the cannabis plant.
  • Cannabis oil (also known as hash oil) - a thick oil obtained from hashish.

While hashish and hash oil contain more THC than marijuana, they are not widely used in Australia. Cannabis is typically smoked and often mixed with tobacco. It is also sometimes added to food and eaten.

How many young people have tried Cannabis?

According to the 2022-2023 Australian secondary schools' survey, 1 in 14 students (7%) aged 12-17 used cannabis in the past month. 

Personal Stories

What are the effects of Cannabis?

If smoked, the effects are often felt quickly as THC is rapidly absorbed into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream within minutes.

The effects of cannabis can be immediate or long term, as listed in the table below.

Immediate Long-term
Increased appetite Problems with memory and learning
Feeling relaxed or drowsy Dependence (see glossary)
Loss of co-ordination Decreased motivation and concentration
Loss of inhibitions Increased risk of respiratory diseases
Bloodshot eyes Paranoia
Dryness of the mouth and throat Psychosis
Lethargy or tiredness  
‘Greening out’ (feeling sweaty, dizzy, nauseous, vomiting)  
Anxiety and panic attacks  
Paranoia (feeling extremely suspicious)  
Psychosis (a serious mental illness that causes people to misinterpret or confuse reality)  

Common Myths

Evidence Base

This factsheet was developed following expert review by researchers at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney, the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University.

See Teacher bookletParent Booklet or Student Booklet for more information and a list of sources.

  • Credit to the Home Office for quotes adapted from Talk to Frank 

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