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Cannabis



DESCRIPTION

Cannabis is an annual, flowering herb. It is widely accepted as being indigenous to and originating from Central Asia. Cannabis plants produce a group of chemicals called cannabinoids, which produce mental and physical effects when consumed. Cannabis has depressant, psychedelic and stimulating effects, but does not slow down the Central Nervous System (CNS) as most other depressants do. In THC and CBD are believed to be two most important cannabinoids that play a role in the effects of cannabis. The effects of cannabis depend on the cannabinoid profile of the plant which can vary widely within the labels ‘Sativa’ (CBD) and ‘lndica’ (THC). Terpenes are the fragrant oils secreted from the same resin glands that produce cannabinoids on marijuana plants. Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain, much like cannabinoids. In the early 20th century, it became illegal in most of the world to cultivate or possess cannabis for sale or personal use. Australia, it is now understood as a prescribed medicinal treatment, accessible through your GP.

 

DURATION OF EFFECTS

Total Duration: 1-4 hours (smoked/vaped), 5+hours (eaten)

Onset: 0-10 minutes (smoked/vaped), 20-40 minutes (eaten)

Peak: 15-40 minutes (smoked/vaped), 3-4 hours (eaten)

Coming Down: 45-180 minutes

(Wait at least 2 hours before redosing, it is very easy to accidentally consume too if eating due to the slow onset.) After Effects: 12-24 hours.

 

HALF LIFE

Even though the apparent effects of the drug wear off after a few hours, the half-life for THC/CBD can be far longer. This builds up over time and regular cannabis users may have the drug and its metabolites in their system for days or weeks after use.

 

EFFECTS


Physical

  • Itchiness

  • Laughter

  • Change in vision- colours or lights seem brighter

  • Dry mouth

  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Stimulation, inability to sleep

  • Lethargy/Drowsiness

  • Increased appetite (munchies)

  • Increase in body/mind connection

  • Physical relaxation

  • Agitation

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Coughing, asthma

  • Dizziness *LESS COMMON

  • Chest infections *RARE


Emotional

  • Euphoria

  • Deeper connection to music, sound

  • Relaxation, reduced stress

  • Emotional numbness


Psychological

  • Closed eye visuals

  • Confusion

  • Increased awareness of senses (taste, smell, etc)

  • Altered sense of time

  • Racing thoughts

  • Boring/mundane tasks can become interesting

  • Increased focus and concentration

  • Creative, philosophical, abstract or deep thought

  • Short term memory loss *LESS COMMON

  • Panic attacks (usually in higher doses) *LESS COMMON

  • Paranoia *LESS COMMON

  • Exacerbated latent or existing mental health disorders *RARE

  • Evidence of inhibiting emotional development if used regularly during adolescence *RARE


Long term effects

  • Upper respiratory problems if smoked

  • Psychological dependence

  • Reduced cognitive functioning

  • Possible mental health issues if pre-existing


It is not recommended to use Cannabis if you have or are at risk of:

  • Mental health conditions, particularly Psychotic or Schizo-affective disorders

  • Respiratory or heart conditions ( when smoking)

 

DRUG COMBINATIONS

Polydrug use has many possible outcomes. What could be fun for one person could be dangerous for another. We recommend you proceed with caution.


DANGEROUS

Tobacco - increases risk of respiratory issues (including cancer) and can contribute to nicotine dependence.


CAUTION

Alcohol - Nausea, vomiting, unexpected effects Psychedelics - may increase the effects which can lead to confusion or a challenging experience.

Stimulants (Cocaine, Methamphetamine, MDMA etc) - May intensify the effects which may lead to an increase in anxiety, confusion or paranoia.

Prescription drugs - may compound effects of blood pressure medication

Antipsychotics - Decreases effects of antipsychotics, increased psychotic symptoms, tremors, muscle stiffness, tiredness, difficulty breathing.

Antidepressants - Increased blood levels of the antidepressant, resulting in increased side effects. Risk of arrhythmia (TCA), mood disorders (SSRI, specifically fluoxetine/ Prozac®), increased heart rate.

 

DRUG TESTS

Roadside Police: THC-only (Cannabis) is tested for in roadside drug tests and is detectable in saliva tests for 24-48hrs+ since you last slept (not last dose). In Australia, it’s illegal to drive with any amount of THC in your system – that means that the roadside tests which are used

(saliva swabs, blood, and urine tests) are not testing for impairment, but simply the presence of THC which can stay in your system for a large amount of time.


Workplace: OHS law gives employers rights to test employees for drug use. This should be contained in workplace policy, it should be reasonable, and a risk assessment should be done to determine whether testing of employees is appropriate.


THC can store in your fat cells and accumulate in the body even in trace amounts – depending on body fat composition, frequency and levels of use, there is a potential for a failed drug test weeks after your last dose.


‘Pill Testing’/Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing has been trialled in Australia but is not available as a health service yet.

 

SAFER USING

  • ‘Set’ = your mind + body. ‘Setting’ = environment. For psychedelic drugs, Set & Setting are very important and shape the experience.

  • Use around people you trust and somewhere you feel safe.

  • Start with a small dose - to gauge your tolerance and the strength of the cannabis.

  • Strength varies greatly from source to source so dosage will vary.

  • Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated.


Smoking

  • Puffing joints rather than inhaling bongs makes it is easi-er to monitor dose.

  • You absorb the maximum amount of THC in 3-5 seconds and holding your breath for longer will not make the effects stronger.

  • Use a vaporiser as an alternative to smoking—You will use less cannabis too.

  • Vaporise at 180 degrees celsius or higher (THC boils at ~150 and CBD at ~180).

  • Bongs filter out more THC than tar and are more harm-ful to your respiratory system than using a vaporiser or smoking a tobacco-free joint.

  • Avoid sharing smoking devices to prevent sharing blood borne viruses.

  • Keep your lips moisturised to avoid cracking/bleeding.


Eating

  • Wait at least 40 minutes for onset of effects.

 

SAFER HANDLING

  • Carrying drugs & paraphernalia puts you at greater risk of criminal charges (inc. trafficking, even if you don’t deal). Know your local laws.

  • Clean your smoking devices by soaking in boiling water for a few minutes.

 

MORE INFO

This resource has been made by people who use drugs for their peers & the wider community. The role of DanceWize is to provide credible & non-judgmental info to promote health & harm reduction. In an unregulated (illegal) market you don’t know the purity or dose of any drug and there is always some risk. You can educate yourself and practise harm reduction to reduce risk. Knowledge is power. #JUSTSAYKNOW

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