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Cannabis, a Class C controlled drug, is composed of dried plant material from the Indian hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. The active ingredient is THC (tetrahydracannabinol). Other forms of cannabis are hashish (dried cannabis resin and compressed flowers) and hashish oil (oil extracted from the plant with an organic solvent). Hashish and hashish oil contain significantly higher levels of THC and are Class B controlled drugs. New Zealand grown cannabis also contains higher levels of THC than that grown overseas. The cultivation, possession and sale of both Class C and Class B drugs is illegal in New Zealand, the penalty can range from 3 months to 14 years imprisonment, along with the possibility of a fine.
Cannabis is a Central Nervous System depressant. In small doses it relaxes the user and produces feelings of euphoria and increased social confidence. Sometimes people use cannabis to escape their problems (unfortunately they always come back!). Young people often experience peer pressure to 'share a joint' with friends in a social setting, in the same way they feel social pressure to use tobacco or alcohol.
The occasional recreational use of a small amount of cannabis is unlikely to cause problems, but higher or more frequent doses can:
A small percentage of people experience adverse psychological effects from occasional or fi rst time cannabis use.Some people experience their f rst ever panic attack after/ during exposure to cannabis. Heavy or frequent users are at higher risk of the following –
The possibility of developing a dependence on cannabis is very low for occasional users; however frequent users can develop both a physical and psychological dependence. This results in an increased amount of cannabis being used to “feel normal”. The anxiety, agitation and depression often caused by heavy use of cannabis are managed by increasing the frequency and amount used. This in turn can lead to further problems.
Use of cannabis:
When frequent, heavy users of cannabis decide to stop using they can experience a mild withdrawal syndrome, which may include some of the following symptoms –
The symptoms largely resolve in one week but may persist in a milder form for up to one month.
You could make an appointment at your local Alcohol & Drug Service (there is one attached to each hospital). You could talk to a counsellor at your campus Student Counselling Service. We can provide information and support to make sure you get the help you need.
"What hashish gives with one hand it takes away with the other: that is to say, it gives the power of imagination and takes away the ability to profit by it." - Beaudalaire (1860)
Where to from here?
If you would like to make an appointment to see a counsellor to learn more about this topic please contact the counselling service on your campus. Distance students can contact any one of the campuses.
Please tell the receptionist if you need an urgent appointment.
Albany: Health and Counselling Centre Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm. Telephone (09) 213 6700.
Manawatu: Student Counselling Service, Turitea Campus, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm (8.30 - 4.30 during semester breaks). Telephone (06) 350-5533.
Wellington: Student Counselling Service, The Student Services Trust @ Wellington, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm. Telephone (04) 801-2542.
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Last updated on Tuesday 29 November 2016