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UK: Surrey cannabis campaigners hit back at psychosis report

96.4 Eagle

Monday 16 Feb 2015

People who smoke skunk cannabis every day are five-times more likely to suffer a psychotic episode.

Researchers in the UK say even casual users are three times more likely to be affected.

It has led to calls for greater public awareness of the dangers.

Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience IoPPN at King's and senior researcher on the study, said: "It is now well known that use of cannabis increases the risk of psychosis.

"However, sceptics still claim that this is not an important cause of schizophrenia-like psychosis.

"This paper suggests that we could prevent almost one quarter of cases of psychosis if no-one smoked high potency cannabis. This could save young patients a lot of suffering and the NHS a lot of money."

But Alan Pavier from the Surrey Cannabis Club thinks legalising cannabis is the best way to tackle the problems associated with it: "The war on drugs isn't working, prohibition does more harm than good.

"Prohibiting a substances, prohibiting cannabis, means that you can't study it, you can't educate people about it, means you can't control the quality of it and it means you can't restrict it from individuals who shouldn't be using it.

"It would be ridiculous for anyone pro-cannabis to say that it doesn't have any harms or risks associated with it, it does.

"What we aim to do is mitigate those harms and risks but prohibition will never allow that."

Responding to the study, Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness said: `"People often think of cannabis as a safe or harmless drug, but this study clearly shows that smoking skunk greatly increases your chances of developing serious mental health problems.

"Reclassifying cannabis isn't the answer.

"What we really need to see is more education about the risks of using the drug, especially for younger people, who are particularly vulnerable.

"Essentially, smoking cannabis is like playing a very real game of Russian roulette with your mental health."




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