AKA: Dope, grass, hash, marijuana, puff, skunk, weed – and loads more

  • It comes from the cannabis plant. Photograph of cannabis
  • Grass is the dried plant and looks a bit like loose tobacco.
  • Skunk is a much stronger version of grass.
  • Hash is cannabis in resin form and looks like a black lump.
  • This is the most commonly used illegal drug.

Why do people take it?
What class is it?
How does it affect the heart?
What are the other effects on the body?


What are illegal drugs?

Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs. Different drugs affect you in different ways and include different risks. Here you can find out more about them.

Class A, B or C?

The British government separate the different kinds of illegal drugs into three different categories. These classes (A, B and C) carry different levels of penalty for possession and dealing. Drugs classified ‘A’ have the strongest penalties, drugs classified ‘C’ have the lowest.

(These classes have nothing to do with how strong or dangerous a drug is – some class ‘C’ drugs can kill you.) 

To find out more about the fines and prison sentences you can get for carrying drugs, go to talktofrank


Why do people take it?

It makes you feel relaxed, giggly and a bit out of it. Can make you hallucinate – hallucinating is when you see or hear things in a distorted way.

What class is it?


How does it affect the heart?

It can make your heart rate go up and affect your blood pressure.

Whether you smoke it with tobacco or on its own, it can damage your heart in the way smoking cigarettes do and also cause smoking related illnesses such as lung cancer.

What about other effects on the body?

Cannabis makes you anxious and paranoid – paranoia is where you get panicky and think that people are out to get you.

New research is starting to show that smoking cannabis can also trigger schizophrenia and serious mental health problems – particularly if you smoke skunk.

Useful links

Talk to Frank:

0800 776600
24 hours a day, every day.

Textphone for people with hearing difficulties

0800 9178765


0845 4500 215

help and legal advice line
(open 11am-1pm for drug or legal advice. 2-4pm drugs advice only)



Talk to Frank
(drugs information service)

0800 776600

(drugs information service)

0845 4500 215

'Cocaine and the Heart'
New England Journal of Medicine 2003
Vol 348:487-488
Kloner.R, Rezkalla.S

Cocaine Abuse: Repolarisation Abnormalities and Ventricular Arrhythmias. The American Journal of Medical Science 2000
Vol 320 (1)
Gamouras.G et al