NEWS

Skunk Cannabis: Top 10 Facts About The Drug

06/11/2013 16:19 | Updated 23 January 2014

Skunk cannabis is often in the headlines for causing users to become "psychotic wrecks", with some newspaper reports linking the 'super strength' drug to mental health disorders, including schizophrenia.

But how much is really known about the potent form of cannabis?

HuffPost UK take a look at the main facts.

  • 'Skunk' is a term often used interchangeably with cannabis, but skunk cannabis is a much more potent form of the drug. It has around two to three more times of the main active ingredient - tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
  • The powerful strains, which were originally created by crossing two cannabis plants, are believed to have originated in the US before being taken up by European growers in hothouses.
  • skunk cannabis

    Skunk cannabis is usually grown in greenhouse-like conditions

  • According to Drugs Scope, some users claim skunk is a safer form of marijuana, because it is harder to fake and cannot easily be cut with other drugs or products.
  • Despite media reports about an increase in psychosis or schizophrenia among users, scientists have found difficulty in proving a clear link between the two. Former government adviser Professor David Nutt wrote in 2009 that despite skunk being around for at least a decade, there had been no obvious rise in schizophrenia. In fact, he said, evidence shows psychosis and schizophrenia have been in decline among the British population, despite cannabis being used by a growing number of people over 30 years.
  • However the NHS says that people with pre-existing mental health conditions or those with a family history of them should avoid smoking cannabis, as it could increase your risk of developing them.
  • Around 10% of all users will have an unpleasant experience with the drug, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Long-term use of the drug can have a depressant effect, reducing a person's motivation.
  • Skunk causes similar effects to cannabis, although they can come on more quickly and more strongly. Some of the side effects include: relaxation, alteration of time and perception, talkativeness, "the munchies", nervousness, anxiety and mild paranoia.
  • Because the compounds in skunk cannabis build up in the fatty tissue of the body, it can still be present in a user's urine for nearly two months.
  • Withdrawal from cannabis is similar to withdrawal from tobacco use, and many users switch to tobacco to help them get off the drug.
    • Skunk cannabis, like marijuana, is a Class B drug. This ranks it alongside amphetamines, barbiturates and mephedrone. The penalty for possession is up to five years in prison, while dealing the drug will see you landed with a sentence of up to 14 years.

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