Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Marijuana is a widely used drug.

Marijuana is a widely used drug.
beginning of content

Marijuana (cannabis)

Cannabis is a general name for drugs like marijuana, hash and hashish oil that are made from the plant Cannabis sativa. It’s one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in Australia. Cannabis has lots of negative effects that are very harmful to your health and overall wellbeing.

Marijuana – made from the plant’s dried leaves and flowers – is the most commonly used form of cannabis. It’s also known as dope, pot, grass, weed and joint. It may be smoked in a joint (like a cigarette), or through a pipe or bong.

It’s illegal to use, possess, grow or sell cannabis in Australia. The penalties are different in each state and territory. You must not drive under the effects of cannabis.

There are also synthetic forms of cannabis, which are made using chemicals. Synthetic cannabis is marketed under names like Spice, Kronic, Northern Lights and Godfather. Find out more about synthetic cannabis on the Druginfo website.

Effects of marijuana

Marijuana is a depressant drug that slows down the messages to and from your brain. The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana might make you feel ‘chilled out’, relaxed, happy and chatty, and may lead to hallucinations if a large dose is taken.

Marijuana also has many negative effects. It causes slower reflexes, poor coordination and concentration, nausea, glassy eyes and increased heart rate and appetite.

Regular users can get chest infections, lower sperm count, irregular menstrual cycle and lowered sex drive. They can become dependent.

There is also some evidence that cannabis can produce psychotic symptoms in people with a family history of mental illness. It can also make psychotic symptoms worse and harder to treat if you already have a mental illness like schizophrenia.

Marijuana users can have social and financial problems, and don’t do as well in education.

Problems are more common for people who start using marijuana at early age, and for people who use it regularly.

You can also find out about marijuana’s mental health effects.

Last reviewed: March 2017

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 36 results

Cannabis/marijuana: what are the effects? - myDr.com.au

The effect of cannabis on a person depends on many factors including their size, weight and health and the amount taken.

Read more on myDr website

Cannabis & psychosis

What is cannabis? Cannabis refers to the products of the cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana and hashish (depending on which part of the pl...

Read more on SANE Australia website

Cannabis: what is it? - myDr.com.au

Cannabis is a drug derived from Indian hemp plants such as cannabis sativa. Its main active chemical is THC.

Read more on myDr website

Problems using marijuana (cannabis)

Read more on Department of Health website

What is marijuana (cannabis)?

Read more on Department of Health website

Physical effects of marijuana (cannabis)

Read more on Department of Health website

Cannabis use - myDr.com.au

Cannabis can affect your physical and mental health with heavy cannabis use potentially causing psychosis.

Read more on myDr website

Cannabis: tolerance and dependence - myDr.com.au

After prolonged use, cannabis is addictive and people using cannabis regularly develop dependence and tolerance to it.

Read more on myDr website

Cannabis psychosis - myDr.com.au

Use of cannabis can cause a condition called drug-induced psychosis.

Read more on myDr website

Cannabis: withdrawal and treatment - myDr.com.au

If a dependent person stops taking cannabis, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback