Alere is now Abbott



Cannabis sativa is a plant found wild in most parts of the world and it is easily cultivated in temperate climates such as the UK. Different forms of cannabis come from different parts of the plant and have different strengths. The plant contains a large number of active compounds collectively known as cannabinoids. The main active cannabinoid ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is largely responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It is the most widely used drug of abuse in the UK.

Cannabis is encountered in different forms: herbal cannabis, cannabis resin and cannabis oil. Herbal cannabis consists of the dried flowering tops and leaves of the cannabis plant. Flowering tops from the female plant contain the highest concentration of THC; this is the type of cannabis grown in ‘cannabis factories’ and is typically referred to as ‘skunk’ due to its characteristic pungent aroma. Cannabis resin (sometimes referred to as ‘hashish’) is scraped or rubbed from the dried plant and then pressed into brown/black blocks. Cannabis oil is the least common form of cannabis found in the UK.



Cannabis can be added as an ingredient to foods such as cakes, or brewed into a tea.



Cannabis is usually rolled with tobacco into a ‘joint’ and smoked.

  • Makes you talkative, relaxed and giggly
  • Heightens awareness of senses
  • Hallucinogenic effects can give a feeling of time slowing down
  • Hunger pangs
  • Feeling faint and/or sick
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Impairs ability to drive
  • Harmful to the lungs as it contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) that increase the risk of lung cancer
  • Can make asthma worse
  • Increased risk of developing a psychotic illness, especially if cannabis use is started in the teen years
  • Schizophrenics who use cannabis can make existing symptoms worse
  • May affect fertility
  • May harm an unborn baby’s brain development and increases the risk of a baby being born small or premature


Molecular structure of cannabis

Street Names

marijuana, dope, joint, spliff, spliffy pot, weed, skunk, gange, ganji, hash, hashish, grass, resin, mary jane, herb, puff, reefer, wacky baccy

Legal Status

Class B Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to five years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to 14 years in jail, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.