Hollywood actors who smoke pot
The cannabis plant belongs to the hemp family. A distinction is made between the three hemp varieties Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis and Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active ingredient and belongs to the group of cannabinoids. In addition to the active ingredient THC, there are more than 60 other cannabinoids, which vary greatly in their psychoactive effectiveness. Each cannabis variety differs in its active ingredient content and in the composition of the cannabinoids. There are varieties that are more calming, others are slightly hallucinogenic.
There are different cannabis products and dosage forms
- Marijuana (weed)
This means the dried plant parts (flowers) of the female plant, THC content: up to 20% or more
- Hashish (shit, dope)
describes the resin of the female hemp plant pressed into plates, THC content: 10-35%
- Hash oil (hash oil, THC oil)
refers to a THC-containing extract from the resin of the female inflorescences, THC content up to 90%! Caution, the oil is very difficult to dose!
Cannabis products are mostly smoked with tobacco (as a joint) or pure (as a blunt). In addition, cannabis is smoked in water pipes (bong) or other pipes pure / mixed with tobacco. Hashish can also be eaten or drunk when dissolved in fat (e.g. biscuits, cakes, tea). The least risky form of consumption is vaporization in a vaporizer. Certain substances are vaporized directly and deliberately not burned in order to avoid undesirable by-products.
The effect occurs about ten minutes after smoking. When consumed, it takes half an hour to two hours. Depending on the THC dose, degree of purity, habituation effects as well as the set and setting of the consumer, feelings such as serenity, joy, fear, etc., can occur simultaneously or alternate with one another. During the cannabis intoxication, the sensory perception (color and sound perception) and the space-time feeling (mostly slowing down) change. Euphoria with increased contact ability is possible. Especially with very high doses and special cannabis varieties, the concentration is greatly reduced and the performance of the short-term memory is limited. In addition, it can lead to reduced drive (dullness).
When smoking cannabis, the effect occurs in a few minutes and lasts for about two to three hours. When inhaling through the water pipe, the effect is more intense. After consuming cookies (space cakes), however, the effect only occurs after half an hour to two hours. Depending on how full the stomach is, the intoxication lasts up to five hours. Because of the poorer controllability compared to smoking, the risk of overdosing is greater when consuming hashish products. Therefore, it is better to approach carefully, dose low and first wait for the effect. Otherwise, the cannabis high can quickly become very uncomfortable! With the onset of the effects, dry mouth, red eyes, dilated pupils, drop in blood pressure, slightly decreased body temperature, decreased blood sugar level and dizziness may occur. In the event of an overdose, which can be reached by just a few puffs, nausea, vomiting, circulatory problems, hallucinations and anxiety can occur. The ability to drive is usually severely impaired under the influence of THC ("tunnel vision"), although the consumer has the feeling that they can still drive.
Research has been concerned with the question of whether cannabis use leads to brain damage since the 1970s. According to the current state of research, cannabis does not cause permanent brain damage. However, brain performance suffers with increasing duration and intensity of consumption. This becomes noticeable in the form of poor learning and memory performance in the case of continuous consumption. But if you stop smoking weed, you can regain full brain power. It is currently not scientifically clear whether there are still minor impairments that can be traced back to permanent brain damage.
What is undisputed, however, is the fact that a early entry into consumption results in lasting impairment of cognitive performance and is therefore to be classified as particularly problematic. The earlier they start, the more young people have to expect cognitive limitations that have a negative impact on their educational opportunities and their everyday lives. For the long discussed "amotivation syndrome" (loss of interest, lethargy, dulling) as a result of long-term, heavy cannabis use or so-called "flashbacks", there is still no scientific evidence!
The use of cannabis can trigger severe mental illnesses (e.g. drug-induced psychoses) in persons with a mental history. Such a predisposition for latent psychoses is usually not known. Pregnant women run the risk of damaging their child's health by smoking cannabis! THC is passed on to the unborn child via the placenta. Even when breastfeeding, THC is supplied to the baby through breast milk. Therefore: Avoid cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
With regular and high-dose cannabis consumption, a slight physical addiction can develop in addition to psychological dependence. When stopping the drug, there are psychological withdrawal symptoms (e.g. irritability, nervousness, sleep disorders) as well as physical withdrawal symptoms (e.g. sweating, headache, nausea). Compared to other drugs (e.g. opiates, alcohol), however, these are much less pronounced. Withdrawal symptoms usually appear 24 to 48 hours after the last consumption and usually last up to a week, at most up to 14 days.
In principle, all inhaled foreign substances pollute the airways. With constant, heavy consumption of cannabis, respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, cough, sore throat and inflammation of the sinuses occur more frequently. Not to forget: Regular cannabis consumption increases the risk of lung cancer enormously, as the amount of carcinogenic substances ingested is higher when smoking a joint than when smoking a cigarette. This is because the cannabis smoke is usually inhaled deeper and the smoke is held in the lungs longer than the cigarette smoke. Joint filters are usually small, rolled pieces of paper (somewhat firmer quality) that cannot filter any pollutants. Cigarette filters, on the other hand, filter some of the toxic substances, but are rarely used by stoners. The use of vaporizers, water pipes or joints with special charcoal active filters reduces the absorption of carcinogenic substances and thus the risk of respiratory problems!
THC has a half-life of around 52 hours in the body. THC can be detected in the blood for up to three days and its breakdown products for up to three weeks. THC can be detected in the urine from one week to three months (depending on the intensity and frequency of consumption). THC can be detected in the hair for several months. If cannabis is found in traffic, there is a risk of fines and driving licenses being withdrawn. Due to the high solubility in fat and the storage of THC in adipose tissue, the consumption of cannabis is the longest detectable of all drugs.
Cannabis falls under the provisions of the Narcotics Act (BtMG, Annex III). Therefore, possession, trade, cultivation, import, etc. are punishable. In addition to having trouble with the police and the judiciary, consumers also risk losing their driver's license.
For some years now, cannabinoids have also been produced synthetically and offered in the form of herbal mixtures (e.g. Spice, Bonzai, ...). Synthetic cannabinoids are very effective: up to a hundred times as powerful as THC. The range of effects of the synthetic cannabinoids can sometimes differ considerably from the effects of the cannabis active ingredient THC. The state of intoxication is often described as stressful and exhausting. This can lead to severe physical and psychological impairments, which are rather untypical for cannabis and which can often still be felt on the following days.
So far, synthetic cannabinoids are largely unexplored. They are suspected of being more harmful to health than conventional cannabis products. There are first indications of a carcinogenic potential and it may also damage organs. Studies also suggest that synthetic cannabinoids are associated with acute psychosis and can exacerbate psychotic disorders in particularly vulnerable people.
Some consumers suffered from severe poisoning with circulatory collapse after consuming herbal mixtures, which had to be treated with emergency medicine. There have already been some deaths in connection with synthetic cannabinoids across Europe. Consumption is strongly discouraged!
More information on synthetic cannabinoids can be found in our section on herbal mixtures.
Extenders / admixtures
In the last few years in particular, elongated cannabis products have become increasingly popular. Typical extenders in grass are e.g. other parts of plants, spices, sand, sugar, glass, talc, lead, hairspray or special solutions (Brix). Hashish contains, for example, fats, oils, wax, shoe polish, etc. Various additives increase the weight to increase the profit margin. This significantly increases the health risk associated with cannabis use. In particular, smoking marijuana mixed with lead dust can lead to permanent, sometimes life-threatening damage to health!
Further current reports and information on extenders in cannabis on the website of the German Hemp Association.
- Cannabis and ecstasy
Cannabis can dampen the effects of ecstasy, but it can also do exactly the opposite. Severe hallucinations and inability to move can occur. Consuming ecstasy increases the drying effect. This can lead to heat stroke, kidney failure, and loss of consciousness.
- Cannabis and Speed / Crystal / Ecstasy
Simultaneous consumption of speed / crystal / ecstasy and cannabis can lead to extreme circulatory problems.
- Cannabis and alcohol
Mixing cannabis and alcohol often causes severe nausea and vomiting.
- Cannabis and psylocibine
Simultaneous consumption can lead to a mutual reinforcement of effects. Psychotic states can be triggered or intensified.
- Cannabis and cocaine
Cannabis can increase the effects of cocaine.
What to do in a drug emergency
If you notice that people are visibly bad after using cannabis and / or herbal mixtures, don't be afraid of doing something wrong. Someone needs your help and doing nothing or looking away can be life-threatening for the person (s) affected.
Take the person (s) to a stress-free, quiet place. Stay with her / them and calm them down!
Important: always call the emergency doctor immediately! Emergency number for Germany: 112 - Doctors are subject to confidentiality!
Tips for cannabis withdrawal
You decided to quit smoking weed. Now it is very important to be careful. Our tips for cannabis withdrawal will help you with this.
It is important that your goal is clearly formulated so that you are not tempted to cheat on yourself, for example by suddenly finding a lot of special opportunities to smoke weed and postponing the time to quit. Set a clear date for when you want to start and share it with those around you (people you trust - friends, family).
Everything must Go
If you still have leftover cannabis, you should dispose of it as quickly as possible so as not to be tempted. You should also destroy all stoner utensils (papers, filter tips, ...)!
And now we can start….
Phase 1 (day 1 to 3)
Here there is a feeling of euphoria. You feel strong and are full of energy. Hanging out at home, watching TV just got boring. The only problem is falling asleep, it is only possible very late - if at all. The first symptoms of withdrawal (cold sweat, chills, nervousness) also appear.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, do lots of outdoor activities. In order to support your motivation to quit, you should forge concrete plans for the future, e.g. a long-awaited vacation that you can finally afford without dope.
Many stoners make the mistake of consuming alcohol instead of cannabis. Beer in particular has a calming effect similar to cannabis. But caution is advised here, otherwise you will quickly slip into the next dependency.
Phase 2 (day 3 to 10)
The withdrawal symptoms are there, sudden sweats, irritable to aggressive mood, feelings of loneliness and inner emptiness make withdrawal difficult.
Exercise distracts you from the withdrawal symptoms. Otherwise, you should go out a lot, meet friends. If you only have friends who smoke weed yourself, it is up to you to decide for yourself whether it will make your withdrawal difficult or not. In any case, your friends should accept your decision to quit smoking and support you as much as possible.
Phase 3 (day 10 to 40)
The most difficult phase awaits you from the 10th day. Especially the nights are not as relaxing as you are used to. First it takes forever to fall asleep and then you wake up very early because you had bad dreams. Not dreaming or not being able to remember dreams is a typical consequence of smoking weed. If you stop smoking weed, you naturally dream again.
This is often felt to be very uncomfortable. In addition, the lack of sleep is nerve-wracking and the initial motivation disappears. Now it is time to stand firm.
Chances are you won't get around the trouble falling asleep. To make it easier for you to fall asleep, it is advisable to avoid the consumption of coffee, black and green tea, cola and the like.
It's also important that you have a regular schedule and that you don't hang out at home. Otherwise there is a risk of relapse.
Phase 4 (day 40 to ...)
The withdrawal symptoms are finally subsiding. There are no longer any acute complaints, but the need to smoke weed is still there. Usually this desire is triggered by certain risk situations. These are usually very specific people, places that remind you of smoking weed. If you can identify the triggers for these situations, you can also better avoid them.
There will certainly be cases where you will not be able to avoid these situations. It is therefore important that you develop your own personal strategies for dealing with such situations.
- In such a situation, first call a good friend and talk to him / her about your desire to “smoke you pot”.
- Think about why you wanted to quit smoking weed.
- Distract yourself by doing something.
Many who have stopped smoking weed believe that they have their consumption under control and set themselves the goal of smoking weed only occasionally or on special occasions. However, caution is advised here in the long term! In fact, only very few manage to consume in a controlled manner in the long term. A relapse is usually preprogrammed here.
So you better keep your hands off it! Otherwise the whole effort would be in vain.
Offers of help
Do you smoke too much or too often? Have you tried to limit your consumption and it didn't work out yet?
If you feel the same way, then the following offers could be of interest to you. There is an internet-based information and advice service:
- Quit the shit Here cannabis users are accompanied online over a period of 50 days and supported in their personal projects. Participation is free and anonymous.
There are also two other offers for cannabis users:
- CANDIS The CANDIS program is the first behavior therapy-oriented weaning program that has been developed in Germany specifically for adolescents (over 16 years of age) and adults with problematic cannabis use and has been extensively scientifically tested. CANDIS is offered by 10 addiction support facilities / advice centers. Participation is free.
- Realize it! "Realize it" is an advisory program for cannabis users. It is carried out by a large number of advice centers in Switzerland and Germany. Participation is free.
If you can no longer cope with your consumption, then you should turn to one Addiction and drug advice center turn. There are experienced and competent contact persons who give confidential advice and have a duty of confidentiality and the right to refuse to give evidence.
Of course, you can also get advice online. The advisory services are free of charge.We offer an online service via the web, e-mail and chat via our virtual counseling center, provide tips and help for those seeking advice, affected friends, family members and parents and show you where you can find professional help and support in counseling centers near you .
- Dr. Eva Hoch: Cannabis - Potential and Risk. A scientific inventory
- Helmut Kuntz: Hashish: Consumption-Effect-Dependence-Self-Help-Therapy, Beltz 2012
- Franjo Grotenhermen and Britta Reckendrees: Treatment with cannabis and THC: Medical options, legal situation, recipes, practical tips, Beltz 2014
- Steffen Geyer and Georg Wurth: Rauschzeichen Cannabis: Everything you need to know, Kiwi 2008
- Mark S. Gold MD .: Marijuana, Springer Verlag 2013 English
- Theo Pütz: Cannabis and driving license, Nachtschatten Verlag 2013
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