Cannabis-induced psychosis has reached crisis levels, forcing the NHS [National Health Service] to open the first clinic specifically treating addicts of the mind-altering drug, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The clinic has been launched by a leading psychiatrist who warns that psychosis among users of skunk – a very strong strain of cannabis flooding the streets – has become ‘a crisis that we can simply no longer ignore’, with tens of thousands of people affected.
Dr Di Forti, a consultant adult psychiatrist and lecturer at King’s College London, said she decided to launch the clinic after being overwhelmed by the number of psychosis patients with a history of cannabis use.
‘It became ridiculous how many psychosis patients were also cannabis smokers,’ she said.
‘It got to the point where two-thirds of my psychosis patients had a history of cannabis use.’
Talking about the former trainee teacher, Dr Di Forti said: ‘He has a degree and professional skills but because he’s stoned all day, he can’t even read a book at the moment. He was training to be a teacher before cannabis took over his life but right now his main goal is simply to be able to use his brain again.’
Calls for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use have grown in the last year, helped by the Government permitting its limited use for medical treatment.
But Dr Di Forti warned against following the lead of Canada and the U.S. states of California and Colorado, where legalisation has seen usage increase.
‘My concern is that there is no way you can legalise recreational cannabis without cannabis use going up, as has happened in America, and there is a potential for a lot of people to come to harm,’ she said.
Treatment comprises a mix of anti-psychotic medication, sessions with therapists, and motivational meetings to wean patients off cannabis.
Dr Di Forti said: ‘The problem has been that while you’re trying to do all these things to help patients with their psychotic episodes, they are smoking from half-an-hour after they wake up until just before they go to bed, so they’re basically stoned all the time.
‘Trying to reintegrate them by getting them to join a local football team or do an art class is very difficult. Often they will be so stoned that they will have no motivation to address their psychosis. That is something we have to work through.’
For complete article - The Mail on Sunday (UK), June 30, 2019
OBJECTIVE: To examine prospective associations between cannabis use and risk of mental health and substance use disorders in the general adult population.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Within the general population, cannabis use is associated with an increased risk for several substance use disorders. Physicians and policy makers should take these associations of cannabis use under careful consideration.
For complete study
Calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms have risen in Colorado and Washington.
DENVER — The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales.
Though the legal purchase age is 21 in Colorado and Washington, parents, educators and physicians say youths are easily getting hold of edibles infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component that causes a high, and concentrates such as “shatter,” a brittle, honey-colored substance that is heated and then inhaled through a special device.
Each poses serious risks to adolescents’ physical and mental health.
“Underage kids have unbelievable access to nuclear-strength weed,” said Andrew Brandt, a Boulder, Colo., software executive whose son got hooked while in high school.
With some marijuana products averaging 68 percent THC – exponentially greater than the pot baby boomers once smoked – calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms have risen. In the Denver area, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado facilities for treatment of cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis and other acute cannabis-related symptoms jumped to 777 in 2015, from 161 in 2005.
The increase was most notable in the years following legalization of medical sales in 2009 and retail use in 2014, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health published in 2018.
“Horrible things are happening to kids,” said psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana. “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”
For complete story
A young adult's proximity to the location of medical marijuana dispensaries appears to be associated with a higher likelihood of marijuana use, with storefront advertising having the strongest influence on behavior. A RAND Corporation study examining trends in Los Angeles County drew this conclusion and is published online in the journal Addiction. “Our findings suggest that as the marijuana retail outlets become more visible and more numerous, they may influence the way that young adults perceive and use marijuana,” study lead author Regina Shih, a RAND senior behavioral scientist, said in a news release.
The Health Eeffects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids