Hashish is a plant derivative substance, extracted from the trichomes, flowers, and fragments of leaves and stems of the cannabis plant. It contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the same active ingredients found in marijuana, but at a much higher concentration (up to 15% in hashish as compared to 5% in marijuana). Hash oil is another substance produced by solvent extraction of hashish/marijuana and ends up having even a higher dose of THC.
Based on the way it is prepared, it comes in various forms and preparations. Hash oil comes as a golden syrupy-like substance. Hash is typically consumed by smoking or ingestion, but the effects are much faster and stronger when smoked due to faster entry into the bloodstream through the lungs. How does hashish work? The active substance of hashish, THC acts by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the neurons, which results in physical, emotional, and cognitive effects.
While many studies have shown that there are medicinal effects of cannabis products, particularly a substance known as cannabidiol, it should be noted that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers cannabis a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is considered to have no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.
So what does hash abuse look like? Hashish is typically smoked in pipes or bongs. Some users add hashish to food or brew it in a tea, and other casual ways. However, given the potent concentration of THC present in hashish, it has a higher potential for addiction and more serious side effects as compared to marijuana. The typical signs and symptoms of hash addiction include euphoria, increased relaxation, hunger, sore throat, panic, paranoia, anxiety, tachycardia, hypertension, impaired coordination, lack of motivation, impaired concentration, and hallucinations.
Long-term effects of hash abuse include immunosuppression, respiratory issues from chronic lung damage, sexual dysfunction in males, cardiovascular issues, mental issues, etc. As expected, hashish users face significant social issues as well, such as job loss, financial issues, legal issues, strained relationships with spouses, children, and other loved ones, just to name a few.
The use of hashish among teens is disproportionately high. There are several reasons for that – most of them having to do that mainstream acceptance and legalization (in some states) of marijuana, and coupling hashish with it as a comparable alternative, which of course, it isn’t. There is a tendency is downplay the potential for abuse, physical dependence, and other harmful effects of hashish. The teens are even more susceptible to its deleterious effects because of their greater propensity for the development of a substance use disorder. They are also more susceptible to peer pressure and having an underlying ADHD or conduct disorder which increases their predilection for hashish addiction, further leading to polysubstance abuse.
Health awareness and education play an important role in helping teenagers understand the hazards of hashish use. Preventing hashish addiction can also prevent falling prey to other even more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.