Hashish Abuse and Addiction
Hashish or "hash" is the resinous form of Cannabis.
Cannabis refers to a variety of different preparations of the Cannabis plant to use as a psychoactive drug. The most common form of marijuana is the dried herbal form, typically consisting of flowers, leaves and stalks of mature pistillate or female plants. Other names for Marijuana include "grass," "weed," "Mary Jane," and "pot."
The major psychoactive chemical compound in hashish is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Herbs are the most widely consumed form of the drug and contain up to 10% THC. This amount has nearly doubled in the last 25 years due to the increased quality of plants and corresponding flowers. Hashish can often be more potent than marijuana, with up to 20% THC. Cannabis oil is the most potent and can contain more than 60% THC.
Hashish has psychoactive and physiological effects when taken. Aside from a subjective change in perception and mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, short-term episodic memory impairment, working memory, coordination and concentration.
Cannabis used medically does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are the amelioration of nausea an vomiting, hunger stimulation in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (effective in treating glaucoma), as well as a general pain analgesic (pain reliever).
The potency of marijuana and hashish continues to become more powerful, and recent studies show teens can often gain easier access to the drug than alcohol.
Admission to addiction treatment centers for hashish addiction has increased dramatically in recent years.
Hashish users physically crave the drug once the body adapts and begins to develop tolerance. Hashish abuse and dependence develops when the user continues to use hashish despite negative health or social consequences.
Memory and learning problems associated with cannabis use may create problems at work or school. Hashish users report high absenteeism, increasing isolation from friends and family, and health problems due to inhalation of smoke. Often the personal problems created by cannabis use become the rational to use more in order to feel better, creating a vicious cycle familiar to many addicts.
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