Herbal cannabis (marijuana)

This is often referred to a ‘cannabis’ or alternately, marijuana. It refers to the dried flowers –with or without seeds, and leaves of the female plant.

These flowers and leaves are chopped and dried before use and resemble a packet of dried herbs that you purchase from a supermarket.

Herbal cannabis is often imported into the UK but many people in this country choose to grow their own for their own private use. The herbal form is often less potent than resin but there are some particularly strong varieties of cannabis which include skunk and sinsemilla.

Where is herbal cannabis imported from?

This is imported from Africa, the West Indies, and South America and to a lesser extent, the Caribbean. It can also enter this country from the US and Thailand.

Stronger forms such as skunk are imported from Holland or are grown here in the UK.

There appears to have been an increase in the amount of homegrown cannabis due to access to high quality lighting, advanced breeding techniques, nutrients and water.

Colour and texture of herbal cannabis

The colour and texture depends upon the type of cannabis and its country of origin.

For example: there are various types of cannabis from Africa which each have their own unique colour and appearance. Some of these have a greenish-brown colour and a dry, musty smell whereas others are a single colour only, e.g. dark green.

Some of these types contain seeds whereas others do not.

A Caribbean variety, e.g. from Jamaica, is usually coarse in appearance, has a brown colour and consists of the flowering heads of the plant plus the stems and/or seeds.

Some varieties of herbal cannabis contain both the flowering heads and the seeds whereas others are made from the heads only.

Purity and potency of herbal cannabis

High quality herbal cannabis contains whole flowering buds from the female plant.

However, most forms of herbal cannabis contain dried flowering heads and seeds from the female plant. If they contain flowering buds – which are also intact then they will command a top price.

Cannabis is considered lower quality if it contains seeds.

Poor quality cannabis contains only leaves.

Herbal cannabis is considered to be less potent than hashish resin but there are a few exceptions to this such as sinsemilla and skunk. These are both very strong forms of marijuana which have become increasingly available.

Gathering herbal cannabis

Cannabis plants are cut at their stems before being dried and then cured.

Curing involves storing chopped marijuana in large containers, e.g. storage jars at a certain temperature and within a dark space. The marijuana is checked at regular intervals to see that it doesn’t become too moist and is moved around in the container to ensure an even exposure to air within the container.

This is carried out in a very short period of time.

Using herbal cannabis

This is added to tobacco and smoked as a cigarette: on its own in an empty cigar casing (known as a ‘blunt’) or through a bong.

Herbal cannabis can be added to tea as an infusion or used to make ‘hash cookies’and ‘hash cakes’.

Effects of herbal cannabis

The effects vary between individuals. One person may become ‘high’ and exhibit extrovert behaviour. Another person may find that they become drowsy, quiet and withdrawn.

An increased appetite or ‘the munchies’ is very common.

Herbal cannabis acts as a hallucinogen which means that it causes a state of altered reality in the user. People find that they become more aware of colours, sounds and textures and that time has no meaning.

Find out more about these in our effects of marijuana section.

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