What is hasj and weed?
Hash and weed come from a plant that is called in latin Cannabis Sativa, or briefly cannabis. In the netherlands we call it hennep. If you dry the female tops you get marihuana. Marihuana has a green-brown color and is mostly called weed. If you push the resin into cubes or slices you get hash. The color differs from lightbrown to black. Due to special threatment a concentrated substance can be created, this is hash-oil.
Weed, hash and hash-oil spread a very characteristic smell. If you smelled it once, you will recognize it immediatly.
What is in it?
The substance where its all about is called 'THC' (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
The more warmth in the climat, the more THC in the hennep.
Also the dutch weed, witch is mostly grown in ideal circumstances, contain a lot of THC. Hash-oil can exist for 50% out of THC.
What does the law say?
The growing of weedplants and possesing hash or weed is always punishable, even wen it concerns little quantitys. In practice there's no active course of action, when someone owns a maximum of five plants for own use or has got a maximum of 30 gram of weed or hash (coffeeshops may only give 5 gram to one customer at a time).
No active course of action is also called in dutch 'dogen'. Minors (people under 18) who are being catched with one of the punishable acts above, get a ticket.
Police and judicature give priority to the search and prosecution of the grow, trade and possesion of big quantity's of weed. There for there are heavy penalties on these acts.
Hash and weed are softdrugs and hash-oil is a harddrug. On harddrugs is a active course of action, possesing harddrugs is punishable.
Whats the origin of cannabis?
The hennep plant is used in several ways. In the biggest part of the world hennep is just an ordinary plant. The fibers of the plant are being used to make rope and clothes for 12.000 years. Hennep is also used by farmers for the purpose of windscreen. In china they discoverd about 5000 years ago that the plant possesed healing quality's.Even now THC is being for medical purposes, eg to prevent the nasty qualitys of chemotherapie. Cannabis is illegal in the US since 1930, in other countrys it was soon illegal too. In the sixties the use in the netherlands increased, but it was strictly forbidden. Ten years after the use increased a lot. From 1980 it decreased a little bit. But after a short period it increased again.
What does the user feel of hash or weed?
THC amplifies the mood. If you don't feel to fine, you can get sad. If one is happy, you can get happier. You can get high. The word stoned is being used because you feel heavy in your arms and legs. THC also affects your observance. You 'll see colors more intense, and also music is more intense. The feeling for time and space changes, your fantasy goes crazy. Some people get a instant appitite, this is called "eatkick", others get weak from laughter.
But you also can get suprised by fear. THC flabbys the muscles, makes the mouth dry, the eyes red, widens the pupils and accelerates the hartbeat. Some of these effects can be experienced as annoying.
How is it used?
Hash and weed are mostly mixed with tabacco and then with long cigaret papers made into a hand rolling tabacco. This is mostly called a joint or stikkie. The smoking is called blowen. There are people who put it into food, mostly a cake or a so called spacecake.
A stikkie or joint works after a few minutes, after 2 to 4 hours the effect is gone.
Hash and weed in food works after an hour(this brings risks).
Who use it?
Hash and weed are easy to get in teh Netherlands. The price variates from 5 to 15 guilders per gram. People use to feel relaxed, or to escape from reality. In puberty the interest is the biggest, because the need to experiment is the biggest in the puberty. From all the pupils above 12 years, 14 percent has tryed hash or weed.
In the age of 18 years and older 47% of the boys and 22% of the girls has tried hash once. In the age of 12 to 18 years 9% of the boys and 4% of the girls recently used.
Most of the time experimenting is only temporarly. The use of hash and weed occurs in all age catagories, ranks and classes. There a number of 600.000 users in the Netherlands.
Can you get adicted?
One can make the difference between physical and spiritual dependency.
If you are physical dependant, your body protests if you quit using the stuff.
If you use hash or weed this doesn't occure. The user doesn't need to more of the stuff to feel the same things. Using doesn't want to say that you'll automaticly want hard-drugs.
Spiritual dependance means that the user increases a feeling to use the stuff more often and doesn't feel happy without the stuff. Some of the users have this, especially the ones who use it very often (for example evry day).
This is even stronger when the user uses to escape from reality, for example when someone is bored or has no future.
It can happen that these users only find the drugs important.
What are the risks?
If you don't feel fine, you better can't use hash or weed: there's a big chance that it will make it only worse.
If the dosage is to big, it can cause feelings of fear and dejection.
It can also cause very unpleasant physical feelings like dissyness and sickness and even panic and feading. This is called "flippen" (freak out). Waiting until it passes by is the only thing you can do.
The only thing you can do is calming the person.
The freaking out occures the most with unexperienced users.
The risk is the biggest when you eat the hash, because you determine how much you got inside.
THC encreases your reactionability and your shortterm memory. Thinking logical becomes hard, you'll loose the line of a conversation. THC in combination with working, studing or making homework doesn't work. Taking part in the traffic under influence of THC is illegal. THC can cause a restraining influence on the development of the user, if he uses it a lot.
Instead of solving their problems, they "blow" it away. There can also develop a social isolation. People who have got spiritual problems, are a group of risk. The use of hash by these people can enlarge their problems and is dissuadeble.
The smoke of joints is usually deeply breath. That smoke contains more cancer raising substances then only from tabacco.
On the long term this can cause problems with lungs. Mother's milk contains THC. The same rules are obtaining for hash and weed, like it does for alcohol, tabacco and other drugs: Dont' use them during pregnantcy and during brest feed. A possible effect of long and intensive use is increasing firtilicy. After you quit, this will recover. Most scientists don't think that using it for a long term, damages your brain.
What does the government doe about it?
Trading weed and hash are illegal. But the sale in coffeeshops isn't being actively traced and prosecuted. This situation is consciously created by the government. This is because they think that soft-drugs users don't come in touch with hard-drugs this way. Coffeeshop are forbidden to sell hard-drugs and are not authorised to advertise, dont't sell to people under 18 and no more than 5 gram per customer. These laws are a lot stricter in many country's. For possesing a little bit of hash or weed you can get to jail. If one takes some stuff with him on vacation, they take a great risk.
Can you recognize problem use?
The use of cannabis brings certain symptomes, like written in this brochure. But these symptomes don't necessarily always come from the use of weed or hash. It's obvious when someones stoned every day. Mostly this is problem use and spiritual dependance.
How doe i handle problem use from someone else?
IIn almost everybody's environment some sometimes uses weed or hash.
it may occure that someone freaks out. This is no reason to panic. Try to calm the person. Most of the time you can calm the person or give him something sweet to drink or eat. When someone stays confused or scared, best the thing to do is call a doctor. At school and in family's with growing children, it will be discussed. Rudly forbidding it doesn't work. Then there's a chance that someone is trying to hide possible use or doesn't want to talk about it. This way if someone blows somestimes this can get problem use. Important are:
- Good information about hash and weed. This brochure gives the most important information.
- Open talks without prejudice. If you worry about someone using and you want to know how much someone uses and why, this is the only way. If someone can't live without it, there are proberly other problems who must be solved. By the user and if necessary with proffesional help. Often there are other signals like decreasing marks at school. Clarity about given borders.
Crediblity of parent or partner is bigger when he/she holds his/her promises. Experimenting of juveniles proberly doesn't go wrong if he/she isn't bored and is independant, and can say no. Keep talking, treaths or panic doesn't work.
it isn't a shame to ask for advise or ask for help.
WWhere can i find more information and help?
For more information and help you go to the addictioncentre, they are in every big or middle-big town.
Photography: Pierre Verhoeff
Distributor: Trimbos instituut