DRUGS



Half-baked?

Do you know the risks of getting high? Why hasn't it stopped you? 10% of us who've smoked weed admit we were pressured to do so by friends. Can you relate?

Whether you call it weed, marijuana, or cannabis, it's the most-used illegal drug in the UK. Four years ago, almost 100K admitted to having smoked marijuana. You may feel tempted to try it, but it affects everyone differently.

Some insight into what smoking weed can do to you
Marijuana does have consequences. It is common that regularly smoking it can cause your grades to slip because it makes you tired so can affect your focus in class. Long term effects include lung cancer, mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and memory loss. Short term effects include excessive hunger ('the munchies'), bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, slower reaction time (not great for driving!) and sleepiness. Another negative is the price. It's not the cheapest, and because it's addictive it wouldn't be easy to give up, therefore you're spending more and more money.

Some argue, however, that marijuana can do good. For example, in the USA it can be prescribed for medical purposes such as back pain, headaches, ADD and ADHD. Some of these 'benefits' might not last long once reality catches up with you, however.

One girl's experience
Tag '20 interviewed 16-year-old weed smoker, Emily (not her real name).

We began by asking her how often she smokes. "I don't smoke it when I have college but I do on weekends and during holidays."

Does she ever worry about smoking? "After researching it I do believe that it is safe. No one has ever overdosed on weed because to be able to, you have to smoke an impossible amount in such a small amount of time. It reduces cancer cells and helps with numerous mental and physical illnesses. I believe it's safe, it's used medically now so that's even more evidence that it is safe. It's much safer than alcohol and gives you a better feeling with no long term damaging effects."

As you are aware, weed is not legalised in the UK. Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK. Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if you're caught with a small amount – generally less than one ounce – if it is deemed for personal use.

So, consider whether weed is worth the risk to your freedom, health and your pocket.