Cannabis is the most widely used recreational drug and comes in many forms.

Weed/grass is made from drying out the leaves and flowering parts of the cannabis plant; it can look like dried herbs and is usually brownish-green in colour.

weed/ grass

Skunk is green in colour and can be covered in tiny crystals. It is very strong smelling and contains much more of the harmful THC than weed and so is more addictive.


Spice is made from chemicals sometimes mixed with plant matter. It is packaged in small, often colourful sachets. It has very high levels of  harmful THC and so is linked to higher risk of paranoia and psychosis. Due to its strength, it is more likely to have harmful effects and lead to addiction.

What is in cannabis?

CBD and THC – both are found in cannabis

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the ingredient in cannabis that is psychoactive (gives a ‘high’) and mind altering effects. It can also lead to panic attacks, anxiety and paranoia. Skunk and Spice may contain three times as much THC as weed.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD)  is non psychoactive (doesn’t give a high) and may help with anxiety, depression, and seizures. That’s why it’s in medicinal cannabis, CBD oils and other products (which don’t have THC in them). CBD isn’t addictive but can still have side effects (e.g. feeling sick, tired and/ or bad tempered).

Street cannabis contains both THC and CBD 

What are the effects of cannabis?

The effects of cannabis vary from person to person. Someone might feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, get the giggles or become more talkative. Some people might get hunger pangs ​​(“the munchies”) find that colours may look more intense and music may sound better or feel that time is slowing down.

Cannabis does have negative effects too, both short and long term

negative effects of cannabis

Read next Cannabis – common questions and myths