Cannabis as a Drug Essay Example

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Table of contents

Introduction 2

Effects of cannabis 3

Preventive Strategy to minimize harm 4

Conclusion 5

References 6

Cannabis as a Drug


Drug Aware (2011) defines drug as any substance that changes the normal body function when taken, excluding food and water. The change may be either physical or psychological or a combination of both. Some drugs such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco have been classified as legal while others such as Cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy have been classified as illegal. Cannabis a short name for Cannabis Sativa, a plant is an illegal drug originated in Asia and is currently used mostly in Britain and the rest of the world.

The purpose of this assignment is to discuss Cannabis as a drug and its effects to the users. Strategies that have been used to reduce its harm are also discussed. The paper is structured to have the effects, strategy used to minimize the harm and the conclusion.

Effects of Cannabis

Harms associated with Cannabis

Cannabis use is said to have undesirable effects on social, economical and health of the user. These effects can further be classified to long term and short-term effect but it all depends on a particular user’s body response to the drug (Tandy 2010).

Short-term harms of Cannabis include: inability to learn caused by impaired memory, thinking becomes difficult hence, a big solving problems is almost impossible and deformed perception. Use of Cannabis also known as marijuana may lead to anxiety attacks a feeling also described by experts as paranoia. Users may also experience mouth and throat irritation, change in heart beat rate that increases in normal person and deteriorates to users suffering from heart diseases and increased vulnerability to infections. Cannabis may also lead to impaired coordination of muscles that in turn may impair driving skills (Ygoy, 2008).

Long-term harms include; negative effect on brain and mental health and respiratory problems that may lead to bronchitis. Cannabis has also been studied and shown suppressed production of reproductive hormones in human body. Long use of Cannabis may also increase risks of heart attack and lungs, head and neck cancer. Regular users may also undergo high levels of anxiety and depression. The body’s immune system is affected badly and the ability to learn due to memory power loss (Ygoy, 2008).

In general, Cannabis is a concern to everyone in the society, work, and family. In the family, Cannabis users are isolated from the rest, which ultimately worsens the situation. In work place, users may develop habits such as regular absenteeism, errors in judgement, poor performance and failing attention to safety regulations that may lead to a decline in the overall production. In school, it may lead to poor reasoning and decisions limiting the opportunity of the student to learn (NCPAD, 2000).

Cannabis can also lead to social problems such as crime and violence where users are more likely to engage in violence than non-users. Accident and injuries are also more likely to happen to individuals using Cannabis compared to their counterparts who do not use. Cannabis users have also been known to engage in risky sexual behaviour such as unprotected sex that may lead to unwanted pregnancies and the risk of sexual transmitted diseases (MRC, 2009).

Benefits associated with marijuana.

According to Bello (2009), Cannabis can have psychological, physical and spiritual benefit. For the physical benefit, Cannabis is said to improve the Autonomous Nervous System enhancing breathing hence relaxing the body. She also adds that Cannabis exposure normally delivers the body from pressures of imbalance exposing any mental confusion. Psychological benefits is said to occur after the balance in Autonomic Nervous System caused by cannabis. There is a certain mind effect that causes the user to feel relaxed and energized at the same time. This effect is said to cause the user think more clearly and efficiently. Cannabis also allows the user to notice certain intentions that would have been invisible under normal circumstances of consciousness. Cannabis helps users generate aggressiveness that is beyond human nature that in turn may help them become more responsible and focused to their values and goals. Spiritually, Cannabis balances the body and enhances mental processes thus assisting in the search for spiritual meaning.

Preventive Strategy to minimize the harm

In the year 2004 thee government of Australia came up with a strategy to respond to the increase in drug abuse in the 90s. The strategy was developed and endorsed by Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy (MCDS) in 2006. The report developed was the National Cannabis Strategy 2006-2009. This was a policy to control the use of cannabis since it was the most widely used in Australia. The strategy was successful since it was focussed mainly on supply. All the harmful effects were analysed in the report that justified the government to implement the report (National Drug Strategy, 2006).

The strategy comprised of: supply reduction strategies aimed at interrupting and stopping the production and supply of any illicit drug, control, and regulate illicit substances. The report also comprised the demand reduction strategies to help prevent and reduce further drug use. This included the abstinence based strategies and treatment to trim the drug use. Harm reduction strategies were also applied to counter harm to persons and the community in general (National Drug Strategy, 2006).


The purpose of this assignment was to discuss Cannabis as a drug and its effects to its users. A Strategy that has been used successfully to minimize its harm has also been discussed.

Cannabis, though some have argued it to have some benefits, it does more harm than good. Cannabis has both short term and long term effects. Short-term effects include anxiety that is the most visible while long-term effects may lead to impaired memory and social problems such as road accident and violence. Cannabis benefits are thus overruled by the harms thus insignificant. Cannabis is a concern to everyone ranging from family members, friends, school and co-workers and should give any form of support to a cannabis victim. The support can be in any form available and treatment where necessary. Before implementation of any harm prevention strategy, an initial baseline study to determine the drugs abused and the level of abuse should be conducted.


Bello (2009). Benefits of Marijuana: Marijuana use can have physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

Drug aware (2011). Drug Information. Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

MRC Research Brief (2009). Substances Abuse and the Young: Taking Action Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

National Drug Strategy (2006). National Cannabis Strategy 2006-2009.Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

Nebraska Council to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse (2000). Facts about Marijuana

Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

Tandy (2010).Myth: Marijuana Is Harmless Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from

Ygoy(2008).Dangers of Smoking Marijuana. Retrieved 21st September, 2011 from