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Hashish, hash, ganja, marijuana and cannabis. They are all names for the same drug plant hemp. The different names are derived based on which part of the plant it’s extracted from like the leaves and buds or flowers .
Whatever the source, hash is a substance of addiction and according to studies about 9% of users become addicted to it. The chances of getting addicted are higher amongst teenagers because they start young.
Once addicted, there are no medications that can treat hash addiction. The only way to stop the addiction is through medications that ease its withdrawal effects and help block all intoxicating effects.
Why teenagers get hooked to hashish
Most of the time teenagers start smoking hashish out of peer pressure. They feel they ‘have’ to smoke hashish to be part of the group. Some of them feel it’s ‘cool’ to do drugs and what starts as showing off and a means of becoming part of a group grows into an addiction.
They also use it because students on hash tend to function at sub-optimal levels in whatever they do.
It’s also believed that genes are a strong reason for addiction. That’s why not everyone who tries hash ends up addicted to it. Besides, a teenager’s developing brain is vulnerable, making addiction more likely.
Another reason for mostly teenagers getting addicted to hashish is family ties and responsibilities. They don’t have that many responsibilities, jobs and families to worry about.
So they can afford to waste time and money on hashish. They are also subjected to a network of similar teenagers, which makes them want to smoke more of it.
There is another group of people. Those who have fewer choices in life, and don’t have any dreams or aspirations to look forward to. They don’t interact socially much because of family life problems or because they can’t emotionally bond to make close friends. This is when they find hash attractive and get addicted to it.
Mental illness due to genetics and the environment is also another risk factor for addiction. People suffering from illnesses like depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) find solace in drugs.
The depressed feel the world is a better place, those with anxiety feel relaxed and those with PTSD and get nightmares, see a reduction in their nightmares.
Things get worse once the person builds some tolerance for the substance.
With time the brain grows resistant to the effects and they notice that the effects are not as strong as before. So they end up taking larger doses to feel the high. Teenagers who don’t come out of the addiction may even end up starting other stronger drugs.
How hash is used to Smoke
There are various ways to smoke hash like:
- Sprinkling in a spliff
This is the most common and easiest way to smoke hash. Just roll a tobacco joint and sprinkle some hash on it before rolling it close. Depending on the hash you can roll it into a worm shape, lengthen it in your palms or place it in between two objects to create a worm. Place the worm in your open joint, add some more tobacco on it and roll it up.
- Glass method
This is best for easily manipulated hash where you need a water glass, cigarette, a straw and a hash ‘worm’. Use a pen or something sharp to drill a hole in the middle of the cigarette.
Place the hash worm into the hole so that most ends up suspended freely. Cut the cigarette to suspend it on the glass diameter and then light the worm’s lower tip. Turn the glass upside down and place it on the table.
The glass slowly gets filled with smoke as the worm burns. This is when you start inhaling the smoke using a straw. The trick here is to light the worm to a small ember so that it slowly and evenly burns and not leave it flaming.
- Using a vaporizer
Vaping is the healthiest way to smoke hash. It heats hash to high temperatures without releasing carbon. But as hash is denser than regular cannabis, the vape temperature should be set higher than 190°C.
- Using hot knives
This is the oldest technique using two pre-heated knives and placing some hash in between them for instant combustion. Place a straw or anything tube shaped above the knives to catch all the smoke. Be careful while heating knives and don’t place the straw too close to the knife.
- Smoking with a bong or pipe
Smoking with bongs or pipes isn’t a practical idea because the hash burns too quickly. If you use it, add some regular weed to the mix to avoid getting too high too quickly.
Bad & ill effects of smoking hash
- It blocks memory formation to cause cognitive impairment in adulthood.
- It disturbs some brain areas and your sense of balance to make walking and talking difficult and clumsy. It may even affect your driving abilities.
- Increases the risk of depression in people vulnerable to mental illnesses.
- Common side effects are intense anxiety, panic, fear and distrust
- Acute users may experience psychosis which includes hallucinations, delusions and loss of sense of personal identity.
Benefits of taking hash as Medicine
- It releases dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel good
- Helps control epileptic seizures
- Can treat inflammatory bowel diseases
- Helps slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- It has a chemical that can prevent cancer from spreading
Is hash legal or illegal to use?
Hash is illegal in most countries but has recently been legalized in some countries. Uruguay legalized it in 2013 to reduce crime while it’s been legal in Spain since the 1990s. Portugal followed Spain in 2001 while it’s legalized in Switzerland, Solomon Islands and in Netherlands, only in coffee shops.
However France and UK have strict laws on it while it’s legal to use for medicinal reasons in countries like Australia, Greece, Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In case of the US, it’s legalized only in a few states. India has a few states like UP permitting the use of bhang, but nothing about legalized use of hashish.