"One man can completely change the character of a country and the industry of its people by dropping a single seed into fertile soil."
John C Gifford
"The law's implementation damages individuals... to a degree that far outweighs any harm that cannabis use may be doing to society."
The Runciman Report, 2000
"You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth."
Using Cannabis Safely
Cannabis is a substance which affects the way you think and feel. Sometimes you'll enjoy the experience and sometimes you wont. The health risks are undoubtedly fewer than with alcohol or tobacco. But equally without doubt they are greater than doing nothing at all.
Cannabis does not suit everyone. It may make you feel sleepy, lethargic or paranoid. For a very few individuals it may have more serious consequences and we urge you to read our section on cannabis effects
and to do a thorough search on Google
before deciding to experiment.
If you have decided to experiment then it may help to read our tips, below. If you disagree with any - or would like to contribute any that have worked for you - please
- If smoking for the first time make sure your surroundings are familiar and comfortable. Ideally take cannabis in the company of good friends and preferably when there's an experienced smoker nearby. Don't put more than a pinch of cannabis into any one joint.
- Eating cannabis is great but it's harder to know how much is too much. Start with a small piece and wait a couple of hours before being sure it hasn't worked. Eating cannabis produces a stronger effect than smoking. It is much, much, easier to overdo it. Be smart.
- If you're not enjoying the experience the secret is to relax and let it pass. If you've smoked cannabis the effects will start to wear off after about 20 minutes. Eating cannabis takes longer, often two hours or more, (after you've first noticed the effects) and is dependent on how much you've consumed. Just remember, the effects will subside and you will feel better again. Find a friend you feel comfortable with and let your mind and body relax as much as possible.
- If you, or someone you know, 'has a whitey' (are close to passing out) the problem will normally be due to an imbalance in the blood sugar level. This is easily fixed by having something sweet to eat or drink (or something containing Vitamin C). A glass of warm water with two spoonfuls of sugar is enough.
- Some cannabis is stronger than others. If you are not an experienced smoker don't buy the strongest product and do seek out advice. There's nothing hard about flaking out in the corner because you've had too much skunk.
- You don't have to take every joint that's offered you.
- Learn your level, experienced smokers know when they've had enough.
- Alcohol and cannabis don't mix and experienced smokers are careful about combining the two. They know that lying flat on the floor while the room revolves nauseatingly around you is not something you want to repeat.
- Your mum was right, empty stomachs make light heads. Try and eat some food first.
- If you're a regular smoker take some time off occasionally. You'll give your body much needed rest, you'll reduce your psychological dependence, you might start dreaming again and you'll certainly save some money. Plus, the high is so much better after a break.
- Cannabis will not fix your life for you. Smoke it to have a good time, not to blot out problems or avoid issues. You can become dependent upon cannabis if you can't make your life work without it.
- Smoking cannabis affects your focus and concentration. It is not a good idea to smoke at school or at work. Driving while under the influence of cannabis can be very dangerous to yourselves, your passengers and everyone else you come into contact with.
- If you're using medicines contact your doctor before using cannabis. Alternatively contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 (8 digits only), or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk. All calls are confidential and the advice is free and non-judgemental.
- Don't smoke when you are pregnant. Be careful not to let your smoke reach pregnant mothers or children.
- Smoking cannabis releases substances like tar and carbon monoxide which are harmful to your health.
- Whenever you can smoke pure cannabis. Tobacco contains nicotine and many other highly addictive and poisonous substances. Moreover, tobacco makes the effect heavier. If you want to get high go pure.
- Never buy cannabis from the street. Try to find someone you trust, if you can't trust them don't buy it. Chances are you'll be ripped off anyway.
- If you haven't used a bong before don’t try and do the whole bowl in one go. The people you've seen do so in movies are professionals and if you try and copy them you'll cough your guts up - if you're lucky. If you're unlucky your throat could close up and it will scare the crap out of you - and your friends.
These tips started life on a 'safe using' leaflet provided by the Dampkring
coffeeshop in Amsterdam.