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what types of drugs
What is Gunja?

Cannabis or Gunja is a depressant and a hallucinogen.

Information about Gunja:

Gunja is an illegal drug containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which affects the way you think, feel and behave.

If you use gunja regularly and then stop suddenly, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Always seek help when you are stopping gunja use.

You usually feel the effects for a few hours but gunja can stay in your body for up to a month.

Short Term Effects

Gunja can change:

  • your mood, it may make you feel very relaxed and sleepy or even make you laugh a lot.
  • You may get 'the munchies' and become very hungry.
  • It makes your heart go faster, eyes get red, mouth gets dry and breathing becomes harder.
  • It slows you down, you don't react quickly, you can't concentrate very well, and you start thinking differently.
  • Some people, when they smoke can get paranoid (fearful and suspicious), worried or restless. When someone gets paranoid they may think people are after them. Some people may see or hear things that aren't there. This can last a few hours or more.
  • Some people have unsafe sex when they are stoned. This puts them at risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a Blood-borne virus (BBV), and unplanned pregnancies.
Female counsellor
Long Term Effects

Long term Gunja use can cause you:

  • To stop looking after yourself. You may feel very lazy.
  • To become forgetful, which can affect your work or school.
  • Gunja puts pressure on families. It can cost a lot of money.
  • To have relationship problems.
  • Some people feel they have to be stoned all the time and can't live without it.
  • You're more likely to get in trouble with the law because gunja is illegal and sometimes you do silly things when you're stoned.
  • To behave antisocially, which includes stealing money and lying.
  • It can also cause respiratory problems like chest infections or other health problems like cancers.

Reducing Harm

There is no safe level of gunja use. The more you use, the more likely you will be harmed. To reduce harm, you can:

  • Have healthy food around so you don't eat junk food when stoned. If you have got the munchies make sure you leave some food for your family.
  • If you get very fearful, anxious, depressed or paranoid when you are stoned, it shows that gunja is causing you problems and your body doesn't like it. If necessary get some help from a family member or health worker.
  • Never drive or operate machinery if you are stoned.
  • You shouldn't get stoned in dangerous places.
  • You shouldn't use getting stoned as an excuse to break the law (Aboriginal Law or non-Aboriginal Law).
  • Always have safe sex and always use a condom.
  • Think about how your gunja use could be affecting your family and community.

Strong Spirit Strong Mind Resource:

Culturally secure gunja brochure.

Reducing Use

Sometimes if you have been using for a long time or using a lot, you can get some uncomfortable feelings when you cut down or cut gunja out. This is because your body is used to the chemicals in gunja.

You may find you crave gunja, think about it a lot, feel angry, anxious or sad, or have very strange dreams. These feelings and effects will stop after a while as your body becomes gunja free.

Sometimes people don't get help because they feel shame talking about their drug use. Alcohol and drug workers are there to help you and will not put you down or judge you.

Looking after Family and Friends

  • Stay together
  • If your friend becomes very paranoid (suspicious and fearful) or sad when stoned, tell them these feelings will pass and try to keep them calm. Never leave them alone when they are feeling like this. If necessary get some help from a family member or health worker.
  • If someone experiences any breathing issues or passes out make sure you call an ambulance straight away. Dial (000)

Inner Spirit Model

Our inner spirit is the centre of our being and emotions.
When our spirit feels strong our mind feels strong.
When our spirit feels tangled our mind feels tangled.
Strong inner spirit is what keeps people healthy and keeps them connected together.
Strong inner spirit keeps our family strong, our community strong and our country alive.
Alcohol and other drugs can tangle your spirit and weaken your spirit and your connections with family, community and country.

Getting Help and Information

If you are thinking about reducing your drug use you might like some help or information.

If you are worried about somebody and how their drug use is affecting you and your family, perhaps you would like some help.

It may not be easy reducing your drug use but your friends, family and other people in your community can support you to make changes.

If you would like further information, please head to our services help and support page below.