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Other names

Marijuana, Draw, Blow, Weed, Puff, Shit, Hash, Ganja, Spliff, B Skunk, Black Grass

What it looks like & how it is taken

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug among 11 to 25 year olds
A solid, dark lump known as ‘resin’
Leaves, stalks and seeds called ‘grass’
A sticky, dark oil (rarely seen)
Can be rolled (usually with tobacco) in a spliff or joint, smoked on its own in a special pipe, or cooked and eaten in food

The effects

Users feel relaxed and talkative
Cooking the drug then eating it makes the effects more intense and harder to control
May bring on a craving for food (this is often referred to as having the ‘munchies’)

The health risks

Smoking it with tobacco may lead to users becoming hooked on cigarettes
Impairs the ability to learn and concentrate
Can leave people tired and lacking energy
Users may lack motivation and feel apathetic
Can make users paranoid and anxious, depending on their mood and situation
Smoking joints over a long period of time can lead to respiratory disorders, including lung cancer
Possible mental health concerns

Legal Status

Class B (but Class A penalties can apply to Cannabis oil)


Supply: 14 years and a fine

Possession: As a Class B drug, the maximum penalty for possession is 5 yrs

Police forces operate an Escalation Penalty System – note, this applies to cannabis only and the Escalation Penalty system doesn’t apply to any other Class B drugs.

Adult caught in possession of cannabis once – will be issued with a cannabis warning given by a police officer on the street or at the police station.

Adult caught in possession of cannabis for a second time – will be issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) for cannabis possession. PNDs are tickets that police officers can issue at the scene of an incident or in custody – they carry an on-the-spot fine of £80.

Adult caught in possession of cannabis for a third time – police officers will consider further action. This could include release without charge, caution, conditional caution or prosecution.

All subsequent times – all subsequent offences are likely to result in arrest and prosecution