Street names: Weed, Puff, Draw, Smoke, Dope, Pot, Ganja, Blow, Hash, Brown, Mary Jane, Blunts, Wacky Backy, Marijuana, Northern Lights, Spliff, Green, Tweed, Salas, Cheese, bud, solid, poobar.

Similar drugs: Spice (a herbal smoking mixture)

Drug type: Depressant. Stronger strains of the drug can be hallucinogenic, making you not see things as they really are.

Is Cannabis Illegal?

Legal status: Cannabis is a Class B drug. It was reclassified from a class C to a class B drug in January 2009. If you're caught in possession of it, you could go to prison for five years. The maximum sentence for dealing is 14 years, plus a fine.

What is it? Cannabis comes from the female Cannabis sativa and Indica plants.

Different forms of the drug come from different parts of the plant. Hash is a brown compressed lump taken from scrapings of the pollens and resins from the plant. Grass is made from the plant's dried green leaves, stalks and seeds. Skunk is made from the strong smelling dried heads of cannabis flowers. Cannabis can also come as an oil, but this is rarely available in the UK.

You usually smoke cannabis - through joints or spliffs, tooting pipes or bongs (toots), but you can eat it too. Eating it has slower, but longer lasting, effects.

Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids which affect how the brain works.  These are responsible for the drug's effects and can be inhaled as a gas if cannabis is used in a vaporiser.

How does it make you feel? The effects of weed

How it can make you feel: The effects of weed are different for everyone - It can make you feel more relaxed and appreciate music and colours more. Some people become giggly and talkative while other become more withdrawn and quiet.

Cannabis can also increase your heart rate, make your coordination poor, leaving you wobbly on your feet, and deplete your blood sugar levels, making you feel hungry.

The risks: Cannabis side effects can cause you to feel anxious and paranoid. It can trigger serious mental health problems in some people. Smoking cannabis also increases your risk of developing respiratory disorders and some cancers.

What are the long term effects of Cannabis?

Cannabis can make you feel unmotivated too, reducing your interest in other activities. Too much cannabis or mixing it with alcohol can cause you to 'green out', making you feel very sick and disorientated.

Cannabis image courtesy of Talk to Frank, Crown Copyright.