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Cannabis

Introduction

Cannabis is the most common drug abused. It is usually used for relaxation, and gives a sense of well being. It does have some medicinal properties, example, for pain relief and the palliative care of terminal cancer patients.

It is derived from the plant cannabis sativa or hemp. The cannabis plant produces a sticky resin, which covers the flowering top and upper leaves. This resin contains a psychoactive compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinoid). The concentration of THC varies according to the different parts of the plant. All parts of the plant can be used. The street name varies according to the parts used. Common names are marijuana, pot, weed, dope and hashish or hash.

It is commonly smoked or inhaled. It can be rolled as tobacco or inhaled through a water pipe.

Signs and symptom

What are the signs and symptoms of abuse?

These include a sense of relaxation, a heightened sense of awareness, increased appetite and red eyes. It can also cause impaired coordination, slowed thinking and reaction time, memory impairment, breathing difficulties, increase in heart rate, anxiety and suspicious feelings.

Complications

What can you expect from long term use of cannabis?

Cannabis can also cause withdrawal symptoms when used at high doses. The symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Perspiration/ sweating
  • Anorexia
  • Moodiness
  • Sleep disturbances

Cannabis has been found to reduce sperm count and hence cause infertility.
It can cause its user to proceed to heroin use and cause dependence. It can lead to serious mental illness, such as depression, paranoid disorder and psychosis.

Treatment

Refer to drug abuse issue

Prevention

Refer to drug abuse issue

Rehabilitation

Refer to drug abuse issue

Support groups

Addiction Centre:

  • Agensi Anti Dadah Kebangsaan
  • PEMADAM
  • PENGASIH
  • Teachers

Psychiatrists

  • Specialist Counsellors in Addiction Issues
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Parents
  • School teachers
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Suraya binti Yusoff
Penyemak : Prof. Madya Dr. Ramli bin Musa