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Cannabis : Everything you need to know


An overview of cannabis usage in the UK

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK. In this blog, Port of Call takes an in-depth look at a wide range of cannabis facts and effects in order to answer some of your most frequently asked questions surrounding marijuana.

Cannabis (also known as ‘marijuana’ or ‘weed’) is the most commonly used illegal drug in the country. Although, its use has fallen recently, with the proportion of 16-59 year olds who admitted to using cannabis during the last year dropped from 10.6% in 2003-04 to 6.6% in 2013-14.

Although the number of those using cannabis is falling, it is still the most popular illegal drug in the United Kingdom. Which is why we’ve produced this blog to educate you about current cannabis facts and statistics in the UK.

cannabis facts and statistics UK

Last year less than one in eight adults (aged 16-59), and one in five young people (aged 16-24), admitted to using cannabis. While the number of cannabis users has decreased, we still think it is important to arm you with all the latest cannabis facts and statistics, including facts about cannabis addiction.

Considering cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the United Kingdom there are an awful lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding it. In this blog, Port of Call answers some of the most common questions that we are regularly asked.

What is cannabis abuse?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active chemical found in cannabis. Because it is stored in fat cells it takes longer than any other common drug to leave the body. Research shows that regular cannabis abuse tends to lead users to store the drug as body fat. That means it is flushed out much slower than in light or occasional users who seem to flush out the drug much quicker.

Infrequent cannabis smokers might find that the drug has left their bodies within a matter of days. Whereas, longer-term users are likely to still have the drug in their systems two to three months after their last smoke.

What are the effects of cannabis on you?

Cannabis effects vary from person to person but can include:

  • Feeling relaxed and happy.
  • Becoming giggly or talkative.
  • Hunger pangs, known as “the munchies”.
  • Heightened sensations of colours and music.
  • Feeling like time is slowing down.
myths about cannabis addiction
Negative effects of Marijuana infographic

What are the side effects of cannabis?

  • It can make some people feel faint or sick, known as a “whitey”.
  • It might make others feel sleepy and lethargic
  • Some people find it affects their memory
  • Some people feel confused, anxious or paranoid
  • Some experience panic attacks and hallucinations.

What are the myths about cannabis?

Cannabis is often seen as being a fairly harmless drug, in large part to numerous studies suggesting that smoking cannabis is less harmful than smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. With so many stories around the media and numerous celebrities admitting they like a smoke every now and again, what’s the harm in smoking a little weed?

While certain cannabis myths have been debunked, there is an illusion surrounding cannabis that the drug helps you to calm down and chill out. Anyone who has seen a Seth Rogen film will have seen the Canadian comic in a chilled out state having just smoked some cannabis. However, while some users will experience this innocuous, mellow and slightly goofy high, for others, the experience of smoking cannabis can be much less enjoyable.

For some, cannabis causes the mind beginning to frantically race and they can end up in a frenzied, irrational state of mind. It has been proven that strong doses of THC can significantly increase paranoia and can make users anxious due to the fact that the drug activates areas of the brain which are related to emotion and fear.

Cannabis myths debunked

So how can it be that some users tend to feel more relaxed while others feel more tense and angry? Why is there is a difference? It can depend on the strain of cannabis used. Generally, high-CBD strains of marijuana can be more relaxing while high-THC strains can increase these unsettled feelings and violence or terror.

Numerous studies have taken place that have illustrated these elements of paranoia and, with the strength of the drug on the rise at street level in the United Kingdom, there is every chance that you could be left with a very unpleasant experience. The slight changes in perception can be the difference between enjoying the experience and looking over your shoulder anxiously every other minute thanks to the brain-altering effects of the drug.

In extreme cases, this paranoia can be coupled with psychosis. Psychotic disorders have several serious symptoms and they can include users experiencing a loss of contact with reality as well as hallucinations, hearing voices and pervasive delusional thinking. Indeed, while there are numerous myths about cannabis addiction, the threat of developing severe paranoia or psychosis is a real, albeit rare, possibility.

How long does cannabis stay in your system?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active chemical found in cannabis. Because it is stored in fat cells it takes longer than any other common drugs to leave the body. Research shows that regular heavy cannabis users tend to store the drug as body fat, which means it is flushed out much slower than in light or occasional users who seem to get rid of the drug much quicker. They might find that cannabis has left their bodies within a matter of days, whereas longer-term users are likely to still have the drug in their systems two to three months after their last smoke.

What are the long term risks?

Cannabis can increase the risk of developing a psychotic illness, especially if users begin smoking in their teens and have a family history of mental illness. Joints containing cannabis and tobacco are believed to contain 50 per cent more cancer-causing toxins than cigarettes made from tobacco alone. Plus, cannabis can reduce motivation and concentration and can be harmful to fertility and pregnant women, whose babies may be born smaller or prematurely if they smoked cannabis during pregnancy.

Why is cannabis illegal?

Cannabis is illegal due to its potential long-term, detrimental health effects. It can increase the risk of developing a psychotic illness, especially if users begin smoking in their teens and have a family history of mental illness. Joints containing cannabis and tobacco are believed to contain 50 per cent more cancer-causing toxins than cigarettes made from tobacco alone. Plus, cannabis can reduce motivation and concentration and can be harmful to fertility and pregnant women, whose babies may be born smaller or prematurely if they smoked cannabis during pregnancy.

To find out more information and facts about cannabis addiction, or how to access drug rehab, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 08000029010. At Port of Call we have been there so if you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Alternatively, you can email us at help@portofcall.com

Useful external resources on cannabis

You can find more information about cannabis and its side effects with some useful links we’ve provided below.

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