In the UK, the most commonly used illegal drug is cannabis. However, the number of people using this drug has dropped in recent years. Cannabis contains a chemical known as THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. This ingredient causes the ‘high’ feeling when the drug is taken. Cannabis also contains CBD, or cannabidiol, which is the ingredient that counteracts the THC to reduce the psychoactive effects.
Taking cannabis may induce happy and relaxed feelings while some users experience fits of laughter. One common side effect of cannabis is known as ‘the munchies’, which causes users to feel very hungry. Cannabis can make some feel as though they are in a dreamlike state with time moving unusually slowly while others may find that music sounds much better when they are under the influence of cannabis.
Nevertheless, cannabis can also have adverse side effects, with some individuals experiencing bouts of paranoia and anxiety. Others will hallucinate and may suffer panic attacks. Cannabis can also make the user feel lethargic, and it can have negative effects on memory and concentration.
New research has found that those who drink alcohol while smoking cannabis will experience a more intense high. When a person has been drinking alcohol before inhaling marijuana, the concentration of THC is increased. As THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, the high is much stronger. Researchers are concerned about the dangers of people driving if they have drunk a small amount of alcohol and then smoked cannabis; they believe that doing this will increase the chances of having an accident.
The research was carried out in the US, where they have seen an increase in the number of people smoking cannabis in the past ten years. In some states, cannabis has been decriminalised.
Researchers have found that combinations of alcohol and marijuana are often detected after road crashes, which is what led to the study of how a combination of alcohol and cannabis could affect road safety.
The study involved nineteen people drinking either non-alcoholic or a low-dose alcohol drink around ten minutes before inhaling a low or high dose of cannabis. The results showed that those who had taken the alcoholic drink before inhaling the cannabis had much higher levels of THC in their blood than those taking the non-alcoholic drink. It was concluded from this that the risk of crashing when combining alcohol and cannabis is higher than when consuming either alcohol or smoking cannabis separately.
A recent study also found that the cannabis available on the streets today is much stronger than it was even a few years ago. This ‘skunk’ cannabis was found to be responsible for a quarter of all newly diagnosed psychosis cases. Women are said to be more at risk of suffering side effects such as extreme paranoia, confusion, panic attacks, anxiety, and hallucinations when smoking skunk than men are.
This stronger version of cannabis is also highly addictive. Those using cannabis regularly for an extended period are at higher risk of becoming addicted. The more a person smokes cannabis, the more tolerant he or she will become over time, meaning that more of the drug will be required to experience the same effects. Those who stop using cannabis may suffer withdrawal symptoms, particularly if they had been using it for a long time. These symptoms can include mood swings, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and cravings.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from a cannabis addiction, it is time to get help. Rehab Helper is a free service working with people suffering from all types of addiction. Call today for more information on how we can help.