Cannabis is a drug that comes from the marijuana plant. It is known by different names such as gunja, yarndi, marijuana, pot, or weed [23508]. Cannabis can be smoked or added to foods and baked [27672]. There is also a synthetic (man-made) form of cannabis, which has potentially more harmful effects than regular cannabis [26504]. These harmful effects include racing heart, seizures and psychosis.

What are the short term effects of cannabis use?

People who smoke cannabis feel its effects immediately [26504]. When eaten, it takes about an hour to feel the effects. Using cannabis makes you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’.  Cannabis affects your ability to react quickly and pay attention to the road which makes driving dangerous. The short term effects of cannabis are different for everyone but can include:

  • feeling happy, talkative and less self-conscious
  • decreased nausea
  • feeling hungry
  • lack of coordination
  • feeling suspicious about other people (paranoia).

What are the long term harms of using cannabis?

Long term use of cannabis can affect a person’s social and emotional health. It can trigger psychosis and depression, or make a person’s depression worse. Effects from using cannabis regularly over a long time include [26504][23508]:

  • increased risk of lung diseases associated with smoking (such as cancer)
  • increased risk of getting regular colds and flu
  • poor memory
  • not wanting to do things (lethargy)

Giving up cannabis

If someone wants to give up cannabis, but they have been using it regularly for a while, their body has to get used to working without it [27672]. Withdrawal symptoms may last for less than a week, but sleep may be affected for longer. Symptoms of withdrawal include [26504]:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • aggressive and angry behaviour
  • loss of appetite and upset stomach
  • sweating, chills and tremors
  • sleeping problems and nightmares.

How does cannabis affect communities?

Some communities can experience problems like fights or other violence when cannabis is in short supply or runs out. Other issues include money problems, mental health problems and fewer people working [23508]. Cannabis is an illegal drug so if someone is caught with cannabis they can get in trouble with the law [25928].


Key resources

0 current entries
0 current entries
0 current entries
0 current entries


Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru by Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.