Marijuana or “Gunja”

The most commonly used and abused illegal drug in the NPA. Many people consider that it is harmless and just helps the smoker to relax. This is far from the truth.


How is Marijuana Used?

Gunja is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) in a bong or bucket bong. This way of using combines Gunja’s active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Its smoke has a strong and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.


Where does it comes from?

Although some gunja is grown in the NPA, the vast majority is brought in from outside the area. This means that dealers, probably in Cairns are profiting from local people who become dependent. Local people too are buying it in large quantities and selling it off in small “deals”. It is also sold to local young people.


How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

THC is the active ingredient. THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream; it carries the chemicals to the brain and other organs throughout the body. THC acts upon receptors in the brain, kicking off a series of reactions that lead to the “high” sensation. The largest numbers of THC receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence memory, thinking, concentrating, time perception, and coordinated movement. It is extremely dangerous to drive after smoking.


Addictive Properties

Long-term gunja abuse can lead to addiction; having harmful effects upon how people function in family, school, work, and recreational activities. Research suggests that about 9 percent of users become addicted. Continued long term use can result in people being slow starters, lacking motivation, unable to complete the simplest routine tasks.


Remember, Gunja is illegal. Selling or possession of large quantities can result in a prison sentence.


Rob Ware

Team Leader, Emotional Wellbeing.


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