Risks Summary

When you get stoned:

Don't drive or do anything that requires alertness or fast reactions.

Getting stoned quickly - especially after drinking alcohol - is a good way to whitey. You won't enjoy it.

If you experience a severe reaction to getting stoned, treat that as a danger warning, cannabis isn't for you.

If you don't like what cannabis does, don't keep getting stoned in the hope it will get better.

Always treat cannabis with respect, if you do, these bad things are unlikely to happen.

Health stuff

Cannabis can help asthma, but smoking it can make the condition worse.

Prohibition is preventing the production of many useful medicines that can be made from cannabis.

If you feel cannabis is becoming too important in your life, break your routine, do other things that don't involve getting stoned .

Don't use cannabis when you're studying or doing anything that requires learning - save it for after.

Don't get stoned or use any drugs when you're pregnant unless you really have to for medical reasons and then always do so with the advice of your doctor

Everyday stuff

Young people under 18 are best advised not to get stoned - at least not very often. This is good advice not only for cannabis but also for any drug. Getting stoned is an adult thing, don't give it to children under 15.

Learn about cannabis and the different types. If possible buy cannabis from people you know who grow their own and take a pride in what they grow. Stronger doesn't mean better.

Most cannabis users have the occasional "session" - when a lot gets smoked and everyone gets very stoned. But if you know someone - especially someone young - who's doing this a lot, perhaps to the exclusion of most other things it might be an idea to check out what's going on.

Don't get into debt to dealers.

Brain care

If you suffer from schizophrenia, cannabis is extremely likely to make your illness worse or delay your recovery

Cannabis is not for everybody - people with mental health problems may have special problems with cannabis. It contains psychoactive drugs and its role in mental illness can be complicated.

Never try to talk someone into getting stoned who doesn't want to. Cannabis isn't for kids.

A bad psychotic reaction to cannabis could be a warning sign, take the warning seriously.

Look after your mates - if you see someone reacting badly to cannabis or perhaps toking too much too often, don't ignore it.

Safer smoking

If you're going to smoke cannabis - breathe in as little smoke as possible and allow the smoke to cool..

If you smoke cannabis - don't mix it with tobacco. Use a pipe or some other device to toke pure.

Don't burn cannabis in plastic or rubber, acrid foul tasting smoke is a sign that this is happening. Never smoke with an aluminum pipe.

Getting stoned too fast or toking whilst drinking or after drinking can lead to a whitey - you won't enjoy that.

Government imposed dangers

Because of prohibition, there is the additional risks of contamination and of not knowing what you're buying,

Contamination is a serious problem espeically if you eat cannabis and the best advice is only to cook with cannabis grown by yourself or someone you know.

At the very least, NEVER eat street cannabis which hasn't been cooked, e.g., hash which has just been crumbled up and sprinkled on a sandwich; you'll probably be OK, but you might just end up with the runs - you could conceivably end up with hepatitis.

It's generally good advice not to buy cannabis supplied by organised crime, so get to know someone who grows at home or grow yourself - but be aware that it's illegal to do so and the law can be very harsh.

The law is sometimes used against small time growers in a very severe way.

Prohibition means cannabis sales are unregulated and that dealers may be more interested in their profit than your well-being. Because of the law, cannabis users may come into contact with a range of other substances, including dangerous addictive drugs

The way forward

The problems surrounding cannabis are social and medical, so we need to encourage social changes to deal with them. The legal system is not an effective way to do this. Social change is created by education and familiarisation, not by repression and the creation of a police state.

The aims of prohibition are to restrict the trade by disrupting it, leading to polluted, uncertain supplies, chaotic use and ignorance about the nature of the substance and the culture surrounding it. Because of the government policy of prohibition there is no recourse under law if you get into trouble with dealers or buy something fake or contaminated. Cannabis is not a controlled drug, whatever politicians think.

If public health and safety are the main aim of policy, the present policy makes no sense.

Be careful - cannabis prohibition is more dangerous than the plant could ever be..