Marijuana growing and consumption is illegal in Uganda despite the rampant growth and trade in the country. According to Zarugaba Tinka, the acting commissioner of anti-narcotics at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), marijuana remains a big problem in Uganda that needs strict laws as those practiced in Kenya.
10 mistakes you should not make when using weed (marijuana)
Uganda has 2.6 million marijuana users as of 2019 according to The Africa Regional Hemp and Cannabis Report: 2019 Industry Outlook by New Frontier Data. The country is also in the top 10 countries on the continent in marijuana consumption. Here's how to practice safety when indulging in this recreational drug.
Tinka told Daily Monitor that police cannot confirm or deny the number of users, however research by Uganda Harm Reduction Network, a non-governmental organisation, put the number of users at about 3 million or 3.5 million.
If caught, anyone charged with marijuana possession or consumption is liable for 10 years imprisonment or a fine of Shs10 million according to the amended anti-narcotic law.
While some companies are pushing for the growth of marijuana for medical purposes, there's still much research needed to convince government and law enforcers of the benefits of marijuana.
While the giants tussle it out, millions of people continue to illegally indulge in the recreational drug which poses a number of risks.
According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician, educator, and cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and a certified health and wellness coach, here are some safety tips to practice when taking marijuana.
- Opting for smoking every time. Avoid marijuana which can cause inflammation in your lungs. Instead of smoking it, opt for a tropical product, dry herb vaporiser, or an edible.
- Holding it in for long periods. When smoking it, don't hold the smoke in your lungs for more than two seconds. The act of holding it in doesn't give it any more effect and irritates the lungs.
- Thinking you are more focused. Don't operate machinery or drive for at least four hours after smoking. Even if you feel like you are able to drive before the four hours elapse, avoid it. If you have an edible, wait for eight or 12 hours before driving or operating machinery.
- Hiding it from your doctor. Confide in your healthcare provider about your marijuana consumption to help them coordinate appropriate care and avoid drug interaction.
- Thinking it can help you work/function better. If you work a safety-intensive job, avoid using marijuana for a day before going for your shift. You should also avoid it when you are looking after other people or children or when you're at work.
- Buying any kind of marijuana. Purchasing marijuana illegally puts a user at risk of using dangerous substances, not to mention toxic and contaminated marijuana.
- Not regulating yourself. Unregulated use also puts users at risk of consuming too much THC which can increase the risk of severe anxiety attacks and heart health issues.
- Using it during developmental years. Young people, especially teens and below, should avoid the drug due to its effects on brain development.
- Using it when you are vulnerable or are raising a child. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid cannabis due to concerns about its effect on a newly developing brain.
- Using it to calm your mental health issues. If you struggle with mental disorders such as psychosis or have a history of schizophrenia, marijuana may worsen these conditions.
Seek professional help if you have trouble controlling your marijuana use or if it is getting out of control.
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