The earliest record of cannabis use is from a compendium of medicines
which was compiled for the Chinese emperor Shen Nung in about 2727 BC. Although
it grows in many parts of the world and so has a long history of use in many
cultures, especially in Asian and African where the plants grow in the warm
Since then the cannabis plants have been used for making ropes, clothes
Cannabis has been used medically world-wide for centuries. Although many
people in Austria use it illegally as an effective reliever of the symptoms of
multiple sclerosis, hypoglycaemia and, in certain instances, as a medication
for the terminally ill.
The use of cannabis for its intoxicating effect has always been a
political issue. In Austria cannabis was first used by young West Indian
immigrants. The 60s hippy culture reached Austria and with it came the
availablility of cannabis to a wide range of young people. The use of the drug
declined slightly during the 70s but with the dance scene kicking off in the
80s with acid house, ravers, party goers and clubbers found it the perfect drug
to bring them down and chill out with after a hard nights dancing.
The various forms of cannabis mostly come from the plants Cannabis
Sativa and Cannabis Indica, which grow throughout the world. Cannabis is
available in three main forms, as a dried herb (grass), as a resin (hash or
hashish) which is extracted from the buds and flower heads in the country of
origin, and less commonly as a sticky liquid (hash oil) which is prepared from
Cannabis is mostly smoked. Usually by mixing it with tobacco and rolling
it up with cigarette papers into a cannabis cigarette (joint). However, it can
also be smoked with or without tobacco in various forms of pipes and smoking
devices (bong or water pipe). In cultures where Cannabis is predominant such as
the Caribbean it is most commonly smoked neat. This method is safer as smoking
Cannabis can also be eaten on its own or mixed in with recipes (cakes,
biscuits, hash cookies) or hot drinks. Eating Cannabis means that the active
ingredients have to fight their way through the stomach contents before they
can be absorbed into the blood. This is less efficient and the dosage is less
controllable. A smoker of Cannabis can stop smoking once he or she reaches the
required level of intoxication, however when eating getting the dosage right is
a far harder business.
usually sold for between 80ATS and 120ATS per gram.
The most common effects are talkativeness, cheerfulness, relaxation and
greater notice of sound and color. Tests have clearly proved that concentration
and co-ordination - such as driving a car - are not performed well. Driving
under the influence of Cannabis can be dangerous.
Not all the effects of cannabis are pleasant. High doses can cause mild
hallucinations which could be worrying especially if they are unexpected. Those
who use the drug when anxious or depressed may find these conditions made worse
and the user can become more self obsessed with his or her problem. Mild panic
and paranoia could then result. Vomiting can occur when an inexperienced use
tries too much at once; this is far more likely if Cannabis has been used with
Smoking Cannabis produces fairly instant intoxication, the effects
lasting from 1 to 4 hours depending on the amount used.
effects experienced by many Cannabis users are the drying up of the mouth and
eating much ('munchies). After all no one has ever died because of cannabis.
There are now many people in Austria who have used Cannabis regularly or
occasionally for at least 20 years, yet there is no conclusive evidence that
long-term use of Cannabis causes lasting damage to physical and mental health.
Short-term memory loss is reported by some users.
Smoking any substance over a long period of time is a bad idea and
frequent breathing in of Cannabis smoke can lead to bronchitis and lung cancer.
Whilst Cannabis does not produce a physical dependency, mixing it with tobacco
will almost certainly produce a nicotine addiction.
also an effective medicine against hayfever, asthma, jointdisease and
menstruationcomplaints. Even Queen Victoria used to take cannabis in a tincture
form (dissolved in alcohol) to alleviate her period pains.