What is cannabis:
Cannabis comes in three forms: Herbal Cannabis, Cannabis Resin, Cannabis Oil. It is an hallucinogenic drug that can be used in a number of ways.
Herbal Cannabis (weed) refers to the dried flowers of the marijuana plant
–with or without seeds, and leaves of the plant. These flowers and leaves are chopped and dried before use and resemble a packet of dried herbs that you purchase from a supermarket. This herbal form is often less potent than resin.
Cannabis Resin is also called Hash or Resin. It is a black/ brown lump made from the resin of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis Oil is a dark liquid made by separating the resins from the plant material. Cannabis oil is the most concentrated form of the three main cannabis products. That is what makes cannabis oil the most potent. It is rarely found in Ireland.
How is cannabis used:
Cannabis and weed are typically rolled and smoked – it can also be mixed with tobacco. It is also consumed using a bong (pipe) where the mouth is placed at the top and the cannabis and water is added in the tube, which is lit to create smoke which is inhaled.
A pipe is another popular method for consuming cannabis. The pipe shares the same characteristics as a tobacco pipe. Place the ground cannabis in the pipe (known as packing) and light the visible cannabis, inhale through the pipe stem.
Cannabis can also be mixed in with food such as cookies and then eaten. The market place has been flooded with vaporizer tools, like the e-cigarettes, that are used to heat cannabis and smoke it.
Where cannabis is taken:
Cannabis (weed) is the second most commonly used drug among young people in Dublin 15 (DATMS 2016 report). Schools in Dublin 15 have reported that a small percentage of students consume it before and after school. It is also easily available in some homes where a parent smokes. According to DATMS, daily usage usually starts in the evening. It is common for it also to be smoked in the street or in parks. Bongs are more likely to be used indoors.
Why cannabis is used:
Normalising the use of cannabis in daily life is a big issue in Dublin 15. There is a common perception that everyone in Dublin 15 uses this drug and this is a key factor in several local youth services in Blanchardstown reporting an increase in the number of young people taking this drug regularly.
“Everyone I know uses weed...all day every day, from morning
to evening…My little brothers friends smoke, so does my older
sister and my father…If you walk outside, instead of having a
cigarette they’d be having a joint...[saying to you] do you want a drag.”
- Participant 25, Young person
It is commonly smoked with other drugs such as alcohol of cocaine. For treated under 18 drug users, the most common type of polydrug use was alcohol and cannabis (weed). There is a culture of consuming alcohol and smoking a joint simultaneously. Service providers in Blanchardstown reported that a high percentage of clients on methadone were chronic cannabis (weed or hash) users
Effects of using cannabis:
In 2014 the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) research found that polydrug use is associated with a number of negative consequences including mental and physical ill-health, violence, aggression and a range of social problems. Polydrug use is more likely to result in accidents and death (including death from overdose) than when a single substance is consumed.
The need for a cannabis treatment service for both young people and adults was reported. Service providers also stated that there was a need to address the perception that weed was a risk free drug. Daily use, was reported to begin at 14 years and even as young as eleven in some cases.