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Basic info

Cannabis plant

Cannabis plant

Cannabis (AKA skunk, weed, green, dope, smoke, bush, grass, blow, ganja) is a plant which grows naturally in the wild in several parts of the world. In the UK it is specially grown indoors in artificial conditions that mimic the climate of the countries it grows naturally in. Most Cannabis that is used in the UK is grown here these days.

It contains a chemical called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which when taken into the body changes the way the person feels, and how they see, understand and think about the world around them. In some cannabis grown in the UK, the plant is engineered to produce much higher than natural levels of THC, to make this effect on feelings and perceptions much stronger.

Cannabis is considered to be a drug because, when taken into the body, it changes how you feel, think or behave. A drug is any substance that, when taken into the body, does this. When the way a person feels, think and behaves has been changed by taking cannabis, the altered state is called a ‘buzz’, being ‘stoned’ or being ‘high.’

How you see, understand and think about the world around you is called your ‘perception.’

Cannabis perception

Hallucinogenics alter perceptions

Drugs that change your perception of what is going on around you are called ‘hallucinogens.’ Cannabis is a hallucinogen. A hallucination is the effect you get when your perception of reality has been changed. Hallucinations can range in strength from very mild to very strong. A hallucination common when using cannabis is ‘the giggles’ – you think everything and everyone around you is very funny, and can’t stop giggling. The things and people around you are just the same as they were before you got stoned – they’re not funny at all – but the cannabis has made you think they are. The cannabis has changed your perception of reality.

See the Young People and the Law page for information on what actions the police and the legal system take when young people are found in possession of cannabis.

For further information about drugs, and matters relating to drugs, visit the websites below:


 Factsheets about cannabis
Cannabis Leaflet2             Cannabis Leaflet1
Choices short harm reduction film about cannabis