Cannabis Q and A

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The Independent Online
Q What is cannabis?

A Cannabis is a plant that can be farmed and harvested like wheat and corn, or grown wild, like a weed. Although not a native to the UK it will flourish in our climate. The stalk of the plant is known as "Hemp" and contains fibres and hurds which can be used to make environmentally friendly textiles, paper, and other products. The flowers contain a mild psychoactive (mood altering) ingredient called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). When the flowers or buds are dried and smoked they are more commonly referred to as "Marijuana".

Q How much does cannabis cost ?

A Price varies by "brand". The average for one-eighth of an ounce varies from pounds 14 for "Dark Moroccan" and "Lebanese" up to pounds 21 for the more powerful "Skunk" and pounds 22 for the very strong "Northern Lights" variety.

Q Do cannabis traces linger in the body?

A Yes. Cannaninoids are fat soluble and traces can be found as long as 30 days, in some cases, after smoking, long after the psychoactive effect has warn off. In the past numerous sportsmen have been caught out in random tests and in prisons testing has caused some inmates to switch to heroin which passes out of the body in three days. Current testing devices will have to be improved in order to be genuinely effective in catching motorists who are driving while intoxicated rather than those who may have taken cannabis weeks earlier.

What are the effects?

A Most frequently cannabis users report that the effects are; extreme happiness (euphoria) followed by mellowness, decreased tension, and a sense of time passing slowly. Other effects can include, heightened sexual pleasure, increased appetite, sleepiness and thirst.

Q Who wants to change the law?

A An NOP survey published last week showed that two out of five Britons aged 15-34 are in favour of the legalisation of cannabis. However support for a change in the law diminishes with age. Just under one in five of the over 55s are in favour while 26 per cent of those between the age of 35 and 54 support legalisation.

Q Where do you get it?

A Best source - a friend who grows his own. Pay about pounds 7 for an eighth of an ounce deal. Next best - ask a friend who smokes where he gets his. Best avoid strangers in pubs they may be selling bogus goods or resin cut with impurities and they might be undercover members of the local drugs squad.

8 If you have any questions about cannabis, the law, or our campaign, please write to: Cannabis Campaign, the Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL