Drugs A to Z

Cannabis: Factsheet

  • Cannabis plant
  • Cannabis slows you down
Year: Year 9–10, Year 11–12
Targeted Drugs:

Resource Overview

Time Allocated

Partial lesson (under 45mins)

Origin

Australian Resource

Cost

Freely available

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. The main active ingredient responsible for the ‘high’ produced by cannabis is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (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 (a secreted gum) 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. Cannabis is also known as grass, pot, dope, weed, joints, mull, hydro, yarndi, ganja, bud, or green.

How many young people have tried it?

According to the 2014 Australian secondary schools' survey, 1 in 7 students (13.6%) aged 12-17 used cannabis last year. 

Personal Stories

What are the effects?

If smoked, the effects can come on quickly as the drug is rapidly absorbed into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream within minutes.

The effects of cannabis vary, but may include: 

Immediate

  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of co-ordination
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dryness of the mouth and throat
  • Lethargy
  • ‘Greening out’ (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).

Long term

  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Dependence (addiction)
  • Decreased motivation and concentration
  • Increased risk of respiratory diseases
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis.

Cannabis: Effects on the Body & Mind

 

Common Myths

Evidence Base

This factsheet was developed following expert review by researchers at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use and National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. 

  • Credit to the Home Office for quotes adapted from Talk to Frank 
  • Credit to 2and2 for Cannabis slows you down infographic.