Despite a myriad of studies and research that proves cannabis in all its forms is a health hazard, there are still people who believe that the illicit drug is not bad for their health and can actually provide benefits.
Here are some brief facts that help to debunk the myths and show cannabis for what it is – a dangerous, illegal drug:
- Marijuana, hashish and all other forms of cannabis are mind-altering drugs, caused by the main active chemical, THC.
- Short-term impacts of cannabis use can include an increased heart rate, anxiety, problems with memory and thinking, and a loss of coordination. Short-term memory can also be impaired, because THC alters the way information is processed in the part of the brain responsible for memory function.
- Long-term impacts for regular cannabis users can include respiratory issues, increased risk of lung infections, cancers and other illnesses, and impaired memory.
- Babies born to mothers who use cannabis during pregnancy are 11 times more likely to get childhood leukemia.
- Cannabis users are six times more likely to develop schizophrenia than non-users. Other mental illnesses, such as bipolar and psychosis, can also be triggered by cannabis use.
- Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, with 34.8% of Australians aged 14 years and over having tried the drug and 10.2% having used in the previous 12 months.
- In Melbourne alone, there were around 4 cannabis-related ambulance attendances per day in 2012/13. This was more than double the rate of 2003/04.
Like other drugs, there is no safe level of cannabis use. Smoking one joint or eating one cookie laced with hashish carries a risk that may be greater than you think.