Our expert says:
To Whom it may concern,
Remember your son will most probably be in denial. They do and can tell lots of lies, eg. Keeping it for a friend, he doesn't use, never has done, or he does now and again. He has it under control, etc. or its none of your business.
They can get quite aggressive and angry. He will want to know why you went snooping in his room.
Don't know if he is studying, working but you need to tell him that while he is still living under your roof, there are rules you have in your home.
You can also tell him that you love him very much and you are concerned for his health and wellbeing.
Tell him, you will support him in to get help. You can also tell him that you have noticed a change in his behaviour and personality.
What is dagga?
Marijuana (DAGGA) is a green or grey mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The drug contains a number of substances called cannabinoids and it is these cannabinoids that affect the brain, heart and lungs.
There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana including "pot," "herb," "weed," "boom," "Mary Jane," "gangster," and "chronic."
It is smoked in the form of hand-rolled cigarettes or in a pipe. Often it is smoked together with Mandrax in broken-off glass bottle-necks. This combination is called a "white pipe". Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). In 1988, it was discovered that the membranes of certain nerve cells contain protein receptors that bind THC.
Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. THC is the most potent, psycho-active cannabinoid. Cannabinoids stay in the body for weeks because they are stored in fatty tissues.
How is it sold?
It is obtained either loosely in a plastic bank packet called "bankies" or compressed or rolled into cigarettes or blocks. These are also known as fingers, pencils, zols, joints and stop.
What happens to the user when the drug is taken?
The effect of dagga depends not only on the strength but also on the personality of the user and the atmosphere or setting in which the drug is used.
The user may feel:
• Euphoric and laugh or talk excessively
The user may also have feelings of detachment or unreality and abnormal perceptions i.e. perceive/appreciate the environment differently e.g. seeing or hearing things that are not really there. The ability to concentrate and remember becomes difficult and the user also becomes a poor judge of distance and time. It is therefore very dangerous for dagga users to be driving a motor vehicle when drugged.
What are the damages to the body?
Dagga is particularly harmful to the lungs. If used over long period of time it could lead to chronic coughing, bronchitis and lung damage. As with cigarette smoking, dagga can lead to lung cancer. Apart from the lungs, the brain is also affected. Memory and concentration are affected while intoxicated. In some people, dagga can be the trigger for life-long mental illness. Other effects of dagga: it reduces fertility in men and women. Dagga also weakens the ability of the body to fight against infection and therefore makes it easier for the user to become ill.
Is dagga addictive?
Although this is a contentious issue. It is clear that some people do become dependant on dagga. The dependence on dagga is most obvious when the drug is stopped. The user has intense craving for the drug, feeling that he/she cannot go without dope. He/she becomes very anxious and feels a need for dagga in order to relax. These thoughts and feelings are the main problem when trying to give up dagga. The person may become depressed and irritable and have difficulty sleeping.
Effects of heavy Marijuana use on learning and social behaviour.
Longitudinal research on marijuana use among people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behaviour, more delinquent behaviour and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents and more associations with delinquent and drug-user friends.
Remember that the brain development is not complete until the age of 18 years.
Does using dagga lead to heavier drugs?
Not every one who smokes dagga will go on to harder drugs. However, it is important to remember that the regular dagga user will begin to find that he/she has to smoke more to experience the same effect because the body becomes used to the drug therefore many dagga users will experiment with other drugs to find greater kicks.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.