The term cannabis is used broadly to refer to a group of drugs that include marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines (speed), and the illegal form of cannabis called cannabis. It is usually smoked or ingested in small amounts, mostly in the evenings after dinner. It is most frequently smoked by using pipes (claptons) or rolling pipes (bongs). The average age at which first users begin to use cannabis is 16 years old.
Canna is taken from the cannabidiol, a compound in the leaves of the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is believed to reduce nausea in certain diseases and to increase appetite, and to reduce the possibility of vomiting when ingested in large quantities. There are no well-known side effects of products containing CBD. However, some users have reported an increased risk of dying from nausea and/or vomiting, as well as a serious, sometimes fatal, increase in heart rate.
Long-term cannabis users may be at a higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety and of suffering from psychosis, particularly if they also use other intoxicants such as alcohol or ecstasy. Long-term cannabis users who quit may experience depression, anxiety and psychosis again, but in lesser amounts than those who never quit. Long-term users may also find that long-term cannabis use changes the structure of the brain, resulting in a higher risk of developing schizophrenia or psychosis later in life.
There is some evidence that cannabis does have some anti-cancer properties. A recent study indicated that smoking cannabis can reduce the chances of lung cancer, although this is unlikely to be a result of the active ingredient, THC, but may be due to the presence of other compounds in the cannabis plant. Other research has suggested that cannabis may reduce the risk of colon cancer, although there has been very little direct research on this subject. A recent study suggested that THC slows down the growth of human breast cancer cells, while other studies have demonstrated that the plant does not actually have any effect on breast cancer cells.
It is not entirely clear whether the long-term effects of smoking cannabis are caused by the THC, CBD or another compound, although many experts believe that it is the latter. The main substance in cannabis that has so far been linked with long-term effects is CBD. This is a special type of CBD that appears to have its own independent effect on the body, rather than acting as a vehicle for THC. Some CBD has been shown to be able to interact with the body’s natural immune system, preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, while CBD may have some health benefits, it is unknown whether it has any effect on the development of psychosis, as it is not considered a drug and cannot be controlled by the user.
There is also some evidence that the appetite is affected by using cannabis. A number of short term studies of people who have started using cannabis regularly report that they feel less hungry after smoking the drug than those who do not smoke. But while this seems like an attractive idea, the lack of long-term testing makes this difficult to prove. More studies need to be conducted before any definite conclusions can be drawn about the appetite affects caused by cannabis use.