Smoking cannabis can make you wheeze and out of breath, make you cough uncomfortably or painfully and worsen your asthma if you have it. It is likely to have many of the long-term physical health risks as smoking tobacco (especially if you mix the cannabis with tobacco). So smoking cannabis can also increase the risk of lung cancer.
If you are trying to conceive Cannabis may affect your ability to have children as in females, it suppresses ovulation and in males, it can reduce sperm count. It can increase the risk of your baby being born smaller than expected if you smoke it while pregnant.
Taking too much too fast can cause someone to ‘whitey’, feeling shaky, ill and becoming pale, that can lead to vomit or collapse. This is due to the rapid drop in blood pressure.
Chemicals designed to act like the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis. These can often be misunderstood as being like Cannabis, but the only similarity is that the chemical links to the same receptors in the brain as THC, found in Cannabis, does. Under New Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, those who use Synthetic Cannabinoids are able to avoid possession charges and drug tests due to them being difficult to detect. Popularity has decreased amongst the public but they are still used amongst the prison and homeless population. This is partly due to their dissociative effect, which can support the user in their unpleasant environment.
Effects can be increased appetite, feeling energised and stimulated as well as producing a dream like state. However, it can also incur hallucinations, vomiting, seizures, confusion and aggression with a very intense comedown. There can be a sudden increase in body temperature, heart rate with risk to internal organs and coma.
Ketamine is a very powerful anaesthetic that can cause serious harm. It can make you feel sick, and it can cause damage to your short and long-term memory.
Ketamine increases your heart rate and blood pressure and can make you confused, agitated, delirious and disconnected from reality. Because you do not feel pain properly when you have recently taken ketamine, you can injure yourself and not know you have done it. This can leave you very vulnerable to hurting yourself or being hurt by others as it causes loss of feelings, paralysis of the muscles and the mind’s loss of touch with reality.
Longer-term impacts on physical health can be serious bladder problems, with the urgent and frequent need to pee or even incontinence. Although stopping using ketamine can help, sometimes the damage can be so serious that the bladder needs surgical repair or even removal.
‘K cramps’- this is abdominal pain, have also been reported by people who have taken ketamine for a long time and there is evidence of liver damage due to regular, heavy ketamine use emerging.
As with all drugs, mixing ketamine with other drugs can be particularly dangerous and even fatal.
Nitrous Oxide is a gas, used recreationally and medicinally for over 200 years, with pain-relieving properties. It is commonly known for making whipped cream, and therefore can be widely available. However, under Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, it is illegal to sell or give away, but has no penalty for possession unless in prison.
Effects are different for people but can cause dizziness and euphoria as well as laughter. Distortions of sound and voices can occur as well as hallucinations. The effects only last seconds and often the user will return to normal within 2 minutes. Continued use of the gas can affect the Vitamin B reserves, which in turn can lead to nerve or brain damage.
The least risky method of use is inhalation from a balloon; however, risks associated with other methods include unconsciousness, brain damage and death.
Solvents are glues, gases and aerosols and are usually readily available as household products, because of this, some people think they are safe to use, but they are not. They can kill the first time they are used. Solvent use can cause people to pass out and choke on their own vomit, as well as risks of suffocation if inhaling with plastic bags.
Inhaling solvents can cause mood swings, aggressive behaviour, hallucinations, vomiting and blackouts. There are a number of physical health risks with solvents such as unsteadiness, disorientation/confusion and fainting, which can all contribute to the risk of accidents and a number of deaths.
Squirting gas products down the throat is particularly dangerous as it can make your throat swell up so you cannot breathe and it can slow down your heart and can cause a heart attack.
Long-term abuse can damage the muscles, liver and kidneys. While very long-term use, such as 10 years or more, can cause a lasting impairment of brain function (especially affecting how the brain controls body movement).
ALKYL NITRITE (POPPERS)
Poppers cause muscle relaxation and head rush. Their effect is short- lasting, usually up to about 5 minutes. Poppers come in liquid form in small bottles and are inhaled. It is reported that Poppers enhance the intensity of sexual experiences, increase sex drive and can make orgasms last longer. It can also be used as a way to relax the vaginal and anal muscles for sex.
Effects after use of Poppers may be headaches, nausea, dizziness or sickness and possibly fainting. They can be poisonous and should never be swallowed, as this on occasion has been fatal. Inhaling in large quantities can also cause overdose.
GHB is naturally found in tiny quantities in the body of humans and other animals. The GHB that is available as a recreational drug or medication is manufactured but is still the same compound. GBL is converted into GHB in the body, so it has very similar effects and harms.
GHB has a medical use in the treatment of narcolepsy, and GBL is used in stain remover, rust remover, and superglue remover, as an alloy cleaner and as a paint stripper.
GHB depresses the nervous system and can have similar effects on the body as alcohol. It can cause unpleasant effects such as vomiting or if too much is taken- coma and has a high risk of accidental overdose. GHB can be addictive and repeat doses can have greater effects than the first.