Research presented to the International Early Psychosis Association last year showed a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. Among a sample of more than three million people, researchers found that cannabis abuse increased the risk, by five times, of developing schizophrenia. Parental use of cannabis increased the risk of schizophrenia in children. As with alcohol, no safe level of foetal cannabis exposure had been established.
RANZCP president John Allan told The Australian that since Canada and parts of the US had taken a more liberal approach, the number of patients presenting with mental health issues related to cannabis had increased. As Professor Allan warned, “if children get a message that it’s a safe thing to do, that’s a concern”. A week ago, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that 65 young people a day, aged 10 to 24, are landing in hospital because of substance abuse. Cannabis was the problem in 40 per cent of cases and alcohol in 26 per cent. Seven out of 10 of the young patients also suffered mental health conditions.