Cannabis contains a chemical called THC which moves from the bloodstream into the brain. THC is a sedative, leading to relaxation and sleepiness. Check out this page full of videos and a factsheet about cannabis use.

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Green Swan

A short film following a budding ballet dancer who turns to cannabis as a way of coping with the pressure.

  • Author: NCPIC
  • Upload Date: 12/1/2012

Jake Lyall runner up in the NCPIC short film competition

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Featured Story (audio)

Cannabis and Psychotic Illness

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This podcast discusses the affect Cannabis can how on your mental health.

  • Author: SANE Australia

Created by www.itsallright.org


Provided by headspace

We have partnered with headspace to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. headspace is Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. headspace provides health advice, support and information for young people aged 12-25.

Information on cannabis

information on cannabis

Credit Drone @ Flickr

Get your information about cannabis:

Cannabis AKA: marijuana, dope, pot, grass, hash, ganja, hashish, hemp, herb, skunk, smoke, spliff, weed, joint and others.

Cannabis is a naturally occurring drug that comes from the cannabis plant. Cannabis comes in a number of different forms:

  • Marijuana, grass or weed comes from the dried leaves of the plant and looks like tightly packed dried herbs.
  • Hash is a blacky-brown lump made from the resin of the plant.
  • Hash or hashish oil is fairly rare in Australia. Hash oil can be spread on the paper of cigarettes and then smoked.

Cannabis is an illegal drug. If you are caught with even a small amount you can be arrested and it could lead to a criminal record. Each Australian state has different laws and penalties in relation to cannabis use, possession, and sale (or supply).

how it is taken

Cannabis is most often mixed with tobacco and smoked as a spliff or a joint. But it can also be smoked through a pipe, put into bongs, made into tea or put into food such as cakes and cookies.

the effects

the immediate effects

Cannabis contains a chemical known as THC for short. THC is a psychoactive substance which means it travels through the bloodstream to the brain, disrupting its usual functioning. The effects of cannabis are often associated with being sedative and hallucinogenic. This means that the drug can provide a state of relaxation, sleepiness and/or leave you seeing reality in a distorted way.

Its effects include:

  • Some people may feel chilled out, relaxed and happy
  • Others may feel nauseous
  • Often people can become overly talkative and laugh excessively
  • The munchies (i.e. hunger or cravings for food)
  • Senses may be distorted, including affected perception of colours, sound and other sensations
  • Loss of concentration
  • Becoming anxious, panicky or suspicious
  • Reduction in coordination (why driving is so dangerous and illegal)
  • Increased heart rate

The effects someone will experience will be dependent on how strong, the sort and the amount taken, a person's body size and health, mood prior to taking the drug as well as how the drug is taken and whether anything else has been taken.

the effects over time of cannabis

Taking cannabis over a period of time can have some serious negative health consequences. This includes:

  • Increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses
  • Less energy and motivation which can contribute to reduced school or work performances.
  • Reductions in memory, concentration and ability to learn
  • Lowered sex drive

You can become dependent on cannabis. Therefore, if you are trying to reduce or stop cannabis use there may be some withdrawal reactions. These reactions include a craving for cannabis, decreased appetite, sleep difficulties, and sometimes anger, irritability and restlessness. If you have only been using for a short time it is likely that there will be no physical symptoms.

There is a risk of also becoming addicted to nicotine if you roll your spliffs/joints with tobacco.

cannabis and mental health

information on cannabis

Credit truthout.org @ Flickr

There is a strong association between cannabis and mental health problems, particularly psychosis, especially if cannabis use starts at a young age and there is a family history of mental health issues. Cannabis can also make symptoms of a mental illness worse.

There appears to also be a link between regular cannabis use and depression later in life.

managing drug use

If you or your family and/or friends think your drug use is becoming an issue the best thing to do is seek help and talk to people about it. When trying to reduce the amount of drug use you may get cravings which can be hard to work through yourself and difficult to overcome, but it’s worth the persistence.

You may be able to reduce or stop drug use on your own but it may also be worthwhile speaking with a trusted family member or friend. Otherwise doctors and counsellors can also help. Check out headspace's getting help section to find services near you.

Download a copy of this factsheet from the resource area below.

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