Cannabis and other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are psychoactive substances which, when taken into the body, alter mental processes such as cognition. Psychoactive substance use falls on a spectrum. Movement along the spectrum is not necessarily linear; that is, a person may use substances differently at different points in their life. It is possible to introduce interventions to minimize risks and harms when problematic use occurs. Problematic use means use of substances in ways that are associated with physical, psychological, economic or social problems or use pose health or security risks to the person, and those around them.
It is important to recognize that use of substances such as cannabis is not the same as being dependent or addicted. Rather, substance use can range from beneficial to problematic.