safer partying drug
cannabis (marijuana, pot, dak,
||Smoking or eating dope can put you in a cruisy mood, make you feel
euphoric and may even give you new ways of thinking. It can also make you lethargic, lazy, vague and exposes you to all the dangers associated
with smoking tobacco.
Cannabis is (apart from alcohol) the most accessible and commonly used drug
in New Zealand. It’s not only used in the dance scene but is included here
because of its popularity and cannabis is often taken for granted by people who
regularly use other drugs.
contains THC, which acts on receptors in the brain and immune system. If smoked,
the effect may last three or four hours. Eating cannabis produces a different
stone which lasts much longer. The effect can change depending on mood, strength
Contrary to popular opinion cannabis is habit forming and many people develop a psychological dependence on it. Regular (most days) use is associated with a number of physical and psychological problems. The more you use and the younger you started using increases the likelihood of problems. These include:
- Increased rates of depression and anxiety.
- Increased risk of schizophrenia-like conditions.
- Decreased educational achievement.
- Physical health problems such as heart disease and cancer (the same as for cigarette smoking).
Short-term effects of being stoned can include:
- A feeling of relaxation, well-being and the giggles.
- The munchies – an uncontrollable desire to eat.
- Making silly mistakes, poor co-ordination, both of which make driving risky.
- Altered perception of music etc.
- Failure to take in information, feeling ‘vacant’ and short term memory loss.
- Disorientation, confusion and rapid shifts of thought.
- Increased heart rate, bloodshot eyes.
Long-term effects of heavy use contribute to:
- Respiratory diseases amongst regular dope smokers.
- Lethargy, lack of energy and reduced motivation.
- Increased tolerance.
- Anxiety, distress and paranoia.
- Difficulties communicating and relating to others.
Research suggests that the following people should be especially careful
because of increased health and emotional risks:
- Adolescents who are still developing mentally.
- Women who are or are planning to become pregnant. Cannabis crosses the placenta and is likely to affect your unborn child’s development. Likewise it crosses into the breast milk.
- People with family or personal history of schizophrenia or other
- People with heart conditions.
- No use is the safest choice. If you choose to use cannabis then moderate, occasional use is safer than continual use.
- Taking deep tokes and holding smoke down for a long time is very harmful to the lungs and is not necessary to get the full effects!
- If a friend is spinning out, reassure them and get them to focus on relaxed breathing (refer to safer partying section).
- Avoid using cannabis to deal with bad trips, since this often intensifies the experience.
- Mixing with depressants such as alcohol can get you way more out of it.
- Mixing tobacco with pot increases lung damage and risk of nicotine dependency.
- Cannabis strength varies. Try a small quantity of any new smoke first. Although uncommon, cannabis can trigger psychosis in some individuals. If having delusional thoughts or other distorted sensory experiences when not stoned see your GP or local CADS service.
- Cannabis burns at a much higher temperature than tobacco –
‘spotting’ can be especially harsh. Using a bong or pipe especially with
iced water reduces damage from hot unfiltered smoke. Ensure that
droplets of water do not come up as well (not good for the lungs).
However, bongs can increase the area of the lung reached creating more
damage. Avoid inhaling deeply.
- Replace bong water each time to avoid bugs and bacteria. Adding a
Miltons tablet (available at chemists) helps sterilise bongs. Plastic or
rubber equipment can give off toxic fumes – glass is best. A pipe for
sucking in smoke is less damaging than a wide opening. A long glass or
stainless steel pipe kept cold (in a plastic bag in the freezer) will
cool smoke effectively.
- Using cannabis as a way to deal with unpleasant feelings or life’s
problems can make things even worse or stop you getting these issues
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED about your own or someone else’s cannabis use,
CADS on (09) 845-1818 or www.cads.org.nz