All Muslims know that alcohol is Haram (forbidden). Even if they do actually drink themselves, they know they are committing a sin. But the same is not always true of cannabis. "Man made beer, God made weed. I know who I trust," is what they might say. "It doesn't have any bad side-effects, it helps me relax and when I'm smoking I think really deeply about things." Is there any truth to these statements? Is weed really a harmless drug? Shouldn't the government legalise it? Didn't they already make it legal a couple of years ago? Is cannabis even forbidden in Islam? There are still a lot of unanswered questions about weed, but more and more research is being carried out. And a lot of it points to a direct link between smoking draw and certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Surely it is important to find out exactly what you are putting into yourself and what effects weed has on your mind and body.
What Is ‘The High’?
Some people may feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, while others have one puff and feel sick. Others get the giggles and may become more talkative (usually talking complete rubbish). You can get 'the munchies' which means that you eat two pizzas and a packet of biscuits in one sitting. It can also make you have heightened senses, meaning that everything can feel like it’s in ssslllooooowwwww motion, which means scoring a good goal on Pro-Evo becomes next to impossible.
But What Causes ‘The High’?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in cannabis. THC interferes with how your brain works. You feel 'stoned' because it affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. The part of your brain which makes you worry about things stops working for a bit, while the part of your brain which finds 'You've Been Framed' funny starts to work in overtime. But in the long run the neurotransmitters become damaged or stop working altogether. This same damage is also seen in patients with Alzheimer's, so if you smoke too much you'll end up forgetting everyone's name like a little old lady. NOT cool. Depending on what you’re smoking, the THC content can be different: - In resin (hash) it’s about 2-7% THC, and dealers have been known to add other rubbish like lighter fluid to make it have a stronger effect, or bits of mud to make the block look bigger. - Skunk is about 15-30% THC, and the stronger it is then the more tiny crystals will be in there. But again, those kind, friendly dealers have found a way of making it look more potent that it really is. Ground up glass (yes, from empty beer bottles) can be added to the buds to make them look like there are more crystals. The problem with this is when you inhale it, it can mash up your throat and lungs. Ouch. - Cannabis oil is quite rare, and much stronger - about 70% THC. Because of this it is a Class A drug and if you are caught with it the police will deal with you the same as if you had heroin, cocaine etc.
What Damage Does Getting High Do?
- First of all, you can get paranoid. I mean hiding-behind-some-bins-because-there-is-a-helicopter-in-the-sky type paranoid. - It can make you dizzy and uncoordinated, which is why driving while stoned is just as illegal as drink-driving. - Some people think cannabis is harmless just because it’s a plant – but it isn’t harmless. Cannabis, like tobacco, has lots of chemical 'nasties', which can cause lung disease and cancer with long-term or heavy use, especially as it is often mixed with tobacco. - It can make asthma worse and cause bronchitis. - Cannabis is risky for anyone with a heart problem as it increases the heart rate and can affect blood pressure. - There’s also increasing evidence of a link between cannabis and mental health problems such as schizophrenia. If you are susceptible to developing mental health problems or depression, then taking this drug is not a good idea. The only problem is, you have no idea how likely you are to get something like schizophrenia until it’s too late. Yes, I'm talking to both of you. - If you smoke for quite a while you start to loose motivation and can become lazy. This means that going to the gym becomes out of the question. Plus, with all the munchies you'll be getting, your belly will start to poke out. If you’re not married already, then you can safely say that the cousin you had your eye on has become out-of-your league. - If you are already married, then there is something else which you should also bear in mind: cannabis greatly lowers a man's sperm count and can harm a woman's ovulation.
But I Don't Smoke Very Much. I Could Stop Any Time!
One useful way of judging whether you or someone else has a problem with cannabis use is to answer these questions. Be honest with yourself! - Are you frequently thinking about and wanting to get stoned? - Do you find it difficult to control how much you use? - Do you feel weird and have cravings when you've not had any weed? And do you smoke more to get rid of the cravings? - Do you find that you're smoking more than you used to just to get the same effect? - Do you find that you're having less time and interest in things that you once really liked such as football, gym, and other hobbies and interests and would rather just have a spliff instead? - Would you rather be smoking cannabis than spending time with friends or family? - Do you still smoke cannabis even though you've been told that it could be bad for you? If you ticked 3 or more and have felt like this for at least a month or repeatedly over a 12 month period, then your drug use is classed as dependant according to the World Health Organisation. [ICD-10, World Health Organization, 1992] Some people might find the results of the above questions quite startling and be surprised to find themselves labelled as dependent cannabis users. Judging whether you have issues with cannabis is really about much more than just how much and how often.
Cannabis is illegal; it's a Class C drug (soon to be class B again). If you’re caught with cannabis the police will always take action.
If you’re caught with even a small amount of cannabis, you can be arrested. Usually, you’ll get a warning and the police will confiscate the drug and if you’re under 18, your parent or guardian will also be contacted. If you continue to break the law, you can end up with a criminal record, which could affect your chances of getting a job. It could also affect whether you can go on holiday to some countries. The maximum penalty for possession is two years in prison plus an unlimited fine.
Dealing is a very serious offence. In the eyes of the law, this includes giving drugs to friends. People who grow cannabis in their homes or carry large amounts on them also risk being charged with intent to supply. The maximum penalty for supply is 14 years in prison plus an unlimited fine.
Did You Know?
'Drug driving' is treated the same as drink driving. You could go to prison, get a heavy fine or be disqualified. Allowing people to take cannabis in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch someone smoking cannabis in a club they can prosecute the landlord, club owner or person holding the party. Using cannabis to relieve pain is also an offence. Possession is illegal whatever you’re using it for.
Islam Is Clear On Drugs!
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) succinctly said: "Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every Khamr is Haram." [Reported by Muslim.] `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) declared from the pulpit of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that: "Khamr is that which befogs the mind." [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.] The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Of that which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is Haram." (Reported by Ahmad Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi.) And again: "If a bucketful intoxicates, a sip of it is haram." [Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi.] This should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that taking drugs is Haram. No ifs. No buts. It's Haram just like alcohol!
Want To Try And Stop Smoking Weed?
If you want to stop using Cannabis or cut down, what you need to believe is that it is doable. You can do it on your own or there are agencies out there that can help you to do it. If you want to go solo, try these tips to see if they help: Write down the pros and cons of smoking. Write down the pros and cons for quitting/changing.
Here Are Some Active Steps To Get You Going:
- Set yourself a date to stop and then stick to it. - Ask a friend who you trust to support you with your decision and to help keep you motivated. - Write a list of what you will do instead of smoking. - Identify your high-risk situations. - Avoid people who smoke, places where you smoke and situations which lead you to smoke. - Learn to deal with your cravings. Most cravings are limited and will pass; ‘ride them out’. - Change the way you think about weed, you DON’T need it. You need food, water and air. - Remind yourself of your successes to date e.g. it’s been three days and every day is a little easier, my chest is starting to feel better, my family is pleased etc. - Have a list of emergency numbers and call them if you need some support. - Most importantly: Ask Allah (swt) sincerely to help you. Ask for His forgiveness and promise Him (and yourself) that you won't start smoking again. Seek protection from the temptations of Shaitan and from the temptations within your own soul. If you honestly want to stop smoking, then you will be able to. I did.
Useful Help Lines And Organisations:
FRANK Freephone: 0800 77 66 00 (24 hours a day) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Muslim Youth Helpline Freephone: 0808 808 2008 (Mon-Fri 6pm-12am, Sat-Sun 12pm-12am) Email: email@example.com Connexions Direct Freephone: 080 800 13 2 19 (7 days a week 8am to 2am) Sakinah (Muslim Counselling Service) Tel: 0870 005 3084 / 0791 991 1920 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org UPDATE:
Cannabis users face new penalties when the drug is upgraded to class B from January next year, the home secretary said today. Jacqui Smith said that those caught with cannabis for a second time would be fined £80 and after three strikes would be arrested. The drug was downgraded to class C in 2004, but fears over the increased use of stronger "skunk" strains among young people prompted a policy review and U-turn. Smith said she was "extremely concerned" about skunk, and its impact on mental health, especially if young people started to use it at an early age or "binge smoke". ... The process for changing the classification of the drug requires votes in both Houses of Parliament. If both votes pass, the new rules will come into force on January 26.