Cannabis and hashish, made from Indian hemp, are the most commonly used drugs in Poland and all over the world. Over 24% of junior-high-school students and over 37% of high-school students admit to using preparations of hemp.

According to data from the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (KBPN), there is a rising trend in the use of preparations of hemp.

There are countries where preparations of hemp are legal. In some of them cannabis is prescribed for terminally-ill patients.

Cannabis and hashish – what it is

Cannabis and hashish are made from Indian hemp growing in south-east Asia, the Mediterranean region, Central America and South America. They can also grow in temperate climates. They contain dozens of biologically active substances, of which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most important.

Cannabis is a mixture of dry leaves and female inflorescence resembling dry parsley. Hashish is a mixture of resin and fragments of cannabis bush formed into balls or cubes (brown or black).

The most common form of using preparations of hemp is smoking (in cigarette holders and pipes or as joints).

Symptoms of drug use

Symptoms of cannabis use include:

  • increased blood pressure and accelerated heart rate
  • drying of the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, sometimes coughing
  • bloodshot eyes and sometimes swelling of the eyelids
  • sweating
  • increased appetite
  • headaches and dizziness
  • loss of coordination
  • euphoria, talkativeness, sense of relaxation
  • increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • sudden bouts of laughter, giggle
  • sometimes depressed mood and retreating into oneself

The website, established by the KBPN, highlights such negative effects of using cannabis as being prone to suggestion, confusion, irrational thoughts, increased tension and anxiety, impaired memory, anxiety and delusions, and the inability to concentrate on many things at the same time.

Effects of use

Long-term use of cannabis can lead to, among other things, dysfunctional appraisal, impaired concentration, chronic bronchitis, and laryngitis, asthma, and becoming indifferent. Using cannabis when you are in a depressed mood can lead to depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

The overuse of cannabis can lead to the weakening of the ability to learn, and impaired memory. Students smoking cannabis can exhibit poorer performance at school – focussing attention and text comprehension can become a problem.

Using cannabis can also cause amotivational syndrome associated with reduced energy, apathy, loss of will to perform the simplest everyday tasks. For young people this may result in problems at school, truancy, neglecting one’s hobbies and becoming generally disengaged

Dangerous, especially for young people

Research shows that cannabis can cause more serious and longer-lasting damage to the brain in adolescents than in adults. Adolescents smoking cannabis every day often suffer from depression and anxiety; changes caused by cannabis in the brain can be irreversible.

According to research, early contact with cannabis can increase the risk of depression – adolescents smoking cannabis can be more susceptible to this disease. The researchers also demonstrated that an early use of cannabis increases vulnerability to adult psychosis.

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