Cannabis is much more harmful than previously thought – that has already been established. New research, however, sheds some light on an even more dangerous connection – that of heavy cannabis use and psychosis. A study, conducted by scientists at King’s College in London and which will be to be published in The Lancet, concludes: ‘People who used cannabis or skunk every day were roughly three times more likely to have a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder than were those who never used cannabis.’ (DailyMail)
Unfortunately, the last few decades, the drug has been glamorised especially amongst the youth, exposing users to potentially very harmful consequences that are often overlooked. Scientists warn governments against relaxing cannabis laws and emphasise the urgent need to inform young people about the risks of high-potency cannabis, more specifically ‘skunk’ which has been cultivated to be four times as strong as cannabis smoked by previous generations.
Another study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, mental health scientists from the Warwick Medical School examined the effects of cannabis, using a sample of 2,391 people. All participants experienced mania symptoms which were part of bipolar disorder. These symptoms include feelings of elation, heightened energy, a reduced need for sleep and hyperactivity. Mania can also make people aggressive, feeling angry and violent with extreme symptoms including hearing voices or becoming delusional.
Dr Marwaha said: “The observed tendency for cannabis use to precede or coincide with rather than follow mania symptoms, and the more specific association between cannabis use and new onset manic symptoms, suggests potential causal influences from cannabis use to the development of mania. It is a significant link.” (ScienceDaily)
With skunk use alone being ‘responsible for 24 per cent of adults presented with first-episode psychosis to the psychiatric services in South London’, health professionals, teachers, government agencies, the police and everyone involved with drug education and prevention should start spreading out the right message:
Cannabis isn’t a harmless drug: it can ruin lives.