Cannabis and mental health
Two million people smoke cannabis / cannabis in the UK. Half of children in the age group of 16 to 19 have used it at least once. Despite warnings of health hazards by the government, many people consider it a harmless substance that helps to remain calm and ‘chill’ and is good for physical and mental health as opposed to alcohol and cigarettes. On the other hand, according to recent research, it may be the main reason for causing mental illness in people with genetic vulnerability.
This leaflet throws light on the effects of cannabis use and research done on mental health and is for those who are concerned about this issue. We hope this will help give people an informed choice of whether to use cannabis.
What is cannabis / cannabis?
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are members of the nettle family that have been found wild throughout the world for centuries. Both plants have been used for a variety of purposes, such as for making rope and clothing, as a medical herb or as a popular recreational drug / substance.
The use of this plant is as follows: –
Resin: A brown black lump known as cannabis, ganja, hashish resin etc.
Herbal Cannabis: It is made from dried flowers and dried leaves of various quantities. It is known as Grass, Marijuana, Spilluff or Weed.
‘Skunk‘ is one of the strongest varieties of cannabis, which is grown due to its high content of active substances. When they are growing, they smell pungent, this name is in reference to the same. It can often be grown in grow lights or greenhouses by hydroponic techniques (growing in nutrient-rich fluids instead of soil). There are more than 100 other varieties of cannabis known by foreign names such as A.K. 47 or Destroyer (Destroyer).
Street cannabis can come in a variety of powerful types. It is therefore difficult to estimate how much cannabis has actually been consumed at one time.
How is it used?
Usually hemp resin and dried leaves are mixed with tobacco and smoked as a “spillf” or “joint“. The smoke is inhaled vigorously and allowed to remain in the lungs for a few moments. It can be smoked by collecting it in a pipe, a water pipe or a box. It can be drunk as tea or cooked in a cake.
What is its legal status in the UK?
Cannabis was re-classified in January 2009 and is now a Class B drug under the Drug Abuse Act, 1971.
The maximum penalty under this is-
- If found in possession – 5 year jail sentence or unlimited fine or both.
- For selling or supplying – 14 year jail sentence or unlimited fine or both.
When cannabis is found in the possession of young people: –
When hemp is found in the possession of a youth –
- He may be arrested.
- He can be taken to the police station.
- In view of the crime, one can be reprimanded, given a final warning or charged.
Re-offending after a reprimand may result in a final warning or charge.
After the last warning –
- The youth is sent to the youth affording team so that the rehabilitation program of that youth can be arranged by this team.
- Re-trespassing can lead to criminal charges.
On being found near an adult: –
Adults are usually warned and cannabis is confiscated. In some cases an arrest is made or caution and prosecution may be required such as –
- On committing a crime again and again.
- Smoking cannabis in a public place.
- On disbanding public order.
What is the chemical composition of cannabis and how does it work?
A common cannabis plant contains about 400 chemical compounds. The names of the four main compounds are –
- Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol
- Delta 8 tetrahydracannabinol
Apart from cannabidiol, all these compounds are psychologically active and Delta 9 tetrahydracannabinol is the most potent. The close-ranging varieties of this plant have a low amount of cannabidiol, while the delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol is much higher.
When cannabis is smoked, its compounds rapidly enter the bloodstream and reach directly into the brain and other parts of the body. The sense of “stoned” and “high” is mainly on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain Delta-9Thc. Is associated with The receptor is a place on the brain cell where certain types of substances can stick or bind for a while. If this happens, it can have an effect on the cell or the nerve impulses it produces. It is also interesting that cannabis-like substance is naturally produced by the brain called ‘endocannabinoid’.
Most of these receptors are found in those parts of the brain that affect happiness, memory, thinking, concentration, sensation and perception of time. Cannabis compounds can also affect the eyes, ears, skin, and stomach.
What are its effects?
Good effects –
High – There is a feeling of great comfort, happiness, sleep. The colors are sharper and the music is better heard.
Side effects –
1 out of 10 cannabis users have unpleasant experiences, including confusion, hallucinations, anxiety, and fear. The same person may feel dear or unpleasant effects according to their mood / mood or circumstances. These feelings are usually temporary, but because cannabis can remain in the body for a few weeks, it can have a long-term effect that users do not realize. Long-term use may cause depression, lack of motivation over motivation.
Impact on education and practice –
It is believed that cannabis can interfere with a person’s following abilities
- To focus
- Organize information
- Use information
These effects can last for several weeks after use, which can cause problems especially for students.
A large study in New Zealand looked at 1265 children up to 25 years of age and found that cannabis use among adolescents was associated with poor school performance but no direct correlation was found between the two. It felt that this is probably because the lifestyle adopted by the use of cannabis does not encourage any school work.
Impact on work –
It has a similar effect in working people. There is no evidence that cannabis can cause specific health hazards. But users are much more likely to leave work without permission, spend time on personal matters during work and daydream. Cannabis users themselves state that cannabis / drugs interfere with their work and social life. Of course some work areas are more difficult than others. A review of research on the effect of cannabis on pilots revealed that cannabis made far more mistakes – both small and large – than cannabis used by pilots. As you can imagine, the test was done in flight simulators, not in real flight. The worst effects were in the first 4 hours, Although he remained for at least 24 hours, the pilot was not aware of being “high”. From this it was concluded that most of us would not like to fly after this information with a pilot who had consumed cannabis within the last one day.
Impact on driving
Researchers in New Zealand found that people who regularly consumed cannabis and who smoked before driving were more likely to be injured in a car accident. A recent study in France took 10,000 drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents. Taking into account the effects of alcohol, it was found that cannabis users were twice as likely to have a fatal accident than others. So perhaps most of us would not like to get into a vehicle whose operator had consumed cannabis a day before.
Problems related to mental health
There is increasing evidence that people with severe mental illness, depression, or psychosis are more likely to use cannabis or have used cannabis for longer periods in the past. Regular use of cannabis can double the risk of having a psychotic episode or schizophrenia. However, it is not clear whether cannabis can cause depression and schizophrenia, or do people with these disorders use it as a medicine?
Research conducted over the past few years can firmly state that there is a clear link between early onset of cannabis in people with genetic vulnerability and future mental health problems. Along with this, the use of cannabis by teenagers is a special issue in itself.
A seven-year study on Australian school children aged 14–15 years has shown that children who use cannabis regularly have a higher risk of depression. However, cannabis use was not likely to be higher than other children who were already suffering from depression. However, adolescents who use cannabis daily are five times more likely to experience depression and anxiety in later life.
Psychosis / Schizophrenia –
According to three major studies in large numbers of people over several years, the risk of schizophrenia is higher than the average among those who use cannabis. If you start consuming cannabis before the age of 15, then you are 4 times more likely to have a mental disorder by the age of 26. According to this study, no evidence of self-treatment with cannabis was found. It is estimated that the more cannabis one uses, the more likely they are to develop symptoms. Why is it especially unsafe to use cannabis in teenagers? No one knows for sure, but it may have some relation with the brain. Brain development in adolescence continues till at least 20 years of age. During this period, the process of neural pruning is going on on a large scale. It is like arranging a tricky circuit of the circuit, So that it can work more effectively. Any experience or substance that affects this process has the potential to produce a long-term psychological effect.
According to recent research in Europe and Britain, people with a background of mental illness and therefore perhaps genetic vulnerability are also more likely to develop schizophrenia using cannabis.
Problems of physical health –
The main threat to physical health due to cannabis is probably from tobacco which is often smoked with cannabis.
Is there anything like cannabis psychosis (cannabis psychosis)? –
This has been said in recent research in Denmark. According to him, it is a short-term mental disorder that occurs due to the use of cannabis and which is cured very quickly by stopping the use of cannabis. However, it is quite unusual that only 100 new patients were found every year by researchers all over Denmark.
However it was also found that-
- Three fourth of these patients were found to be suffering from a different mental disorder within a year.
- Half of the patients were found to be suffering from a mental disorder even after three years.
So it is likely that more than half of the people who have been diagnosed with cannabis psychosis are actually showing the first signs of long-lasting schizophrenia, such as schizophrenia. Perhaps these people may be especially vulnerable to the side effects of cannabis and they should avoid cannabis in future.
Is cannabis / cannabis addictive ? –
Cannabis has characteristics like narcotics / drugs such as-
Tolerance – Taking an overdose to get the first effect.
Withdrawal / withdrawal symptoms
The following symptoms are found in heavy users –
- loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of weight
- Aggression and anger
- Strange dream
These symptoms cause as much discomfort when not taking cannabis as they do not consume tobacco.
In regular long-term users –
- 3 out of 4 feel craving.
- Half feel irritable.
- 7 out of 10 start taking tobacco in an attempt to stop the consumption of cannabis.
Symptoms of irritability, nervousness, and sleep difficulties begin to appear after the last 10 hours of cannabis use and most often occur after a week.
Compulsive Use (Compulsive Application)
The user feels that its use is mandatory and spends most of his life seeking, buying and using it. They cannot stop consuming it when in important parts of their life (family, work, school) it causes problems. The likelihood of you relying on cannabis increases if you use it every day.
Skunk and other powerful varieties –
The main psychological active ingredient T.H.C. The amount of herbal cannabis can range from 1% to 15%. New strains, including skunk, can have up to 20%. The new varieties are 2 to 3 times more powerful than the hemp varieties available 30 years ago. It works more quickly and can produce hallucinations with intense decency and elation. It may also be accompanied by nervousness, extreme anxiety, projectile vomiting, and a desire to eat more. It can be used by some as an alternative to ‘ecstasy’ or ‘LCD’.
Legally these strains fall into the class of class-B drugs. There has been less research on these, but it is likely that the risk of mental disorder / disease from these new strains is high. According to a study currently underway, it has been found that users of strong varieties of cannabis may have problems with concentration and short-term memory.
Problems using cannabis –
Most people feel pleasure when using cannabis. But it can cause problems for some people. An American organization Marijuana-anonymous.org defines cannabis problems as follows –
Cannabis is a problem if cannabis determines our thinking and our lives and if our desires are focused only around cannabis – to get drunk, to get it, to buy and to search and Loses interest in everything else.
This website has the following questionnaire that may be equally applicable to users of alcohol –
“If you answer yes to any question, then you may have a problem.”
- Isn’t cannabis consumption as a smoke anymore blissful?
- Do you drink cannabis alone?
- Is it difficult for you to imagine your life without cannabis?
- Does the use of cannabis determine your selection of friends?
- Do you take cannabis to fight your problems?
- Do you take cannabis to face your feelings?
- Do you live in your own personal world due to the use of cannabis?
- Do you fail to make promises to reduce or control your cannabis, smoking intake?
- Are you experiencing problems with concentration, memory or motivation due to cannabis?
- When you have a shortage of cannabis, do you get anxious to get it?
- Is living your life around cannabis use?
- Have your friends and relatives complained that cannabis is causing damage to your relationships due to smoking?
Reducing the use of cannabis –
The Home Office has recently published a guide to curb and completely curb the use of cannabis. It contains several measures to successfully stop the use of cannabis, including –
- Prepare a list of what is the reason for making a change in yourself.
- Planning how to change yourself.
- How will you cope with the symptoms on avoiding?
- Keep another plan ready in case of failure.
If you have decided to quit cannabis then it is no more difficult than quitting cigarettes / smoking.
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