A group comprising 25 senior doctors in Ireland has written a letter voicing increasing health-related problems from cannabis use, especially among teenagers.
In the letter published in Irish Times, May 20 edition, the Cannabis Risk Alliance argues that the society has taken “its eye off the ball”.
Dr. Bobby Smyth, an Adolescent Addiction Psychiatrist, is one of the 25 senior doctors who have signed the letter. He is of the view that society has lost sights of the risks and harms — brought about by cannabis — which have skyrocketed in the last 15 years, but are largely being ignored.
Dr. Smyth added that during his 16-year tenure so far at Adolescent Addiction Services, he has seen the strength of cannabis change drastically. “Cannabis that was used at that time, going back into late 80s, and 90s was what we called hash, which was comparatively low strength and wasn’t as catastrophic to the teenagers I was encountering at the time.”
However, high-potency marijuana, better known by the name ‘skunk‘, that is plaguing almost the entire UK is to blame for the rising cases of cannabis abuse among teenagers. “I would never have guessed that cannabis could cause this amount of dysfunction and impairment in a teenager’s life,” he said.
All the 25 doctors believe that cannabis is the only drug that teenagers report using from first thing in the morning till the last thing at night.
“15 years ago teenagers managed to get €20, and that sum got them hold of cannabis for an entire week, but now they are spending nearly €50 a day and you know 15-year-olds don’t have that kind of money.”
As a result, teenagers are rapidly getting into debt, which in turn is bringing them stress and intimidation. This feeling of stress per se promotes more consumption of the drug, increasing the risk of psychosis.
The idea of improving quality and reducing potency by legalizing cannabis is merely a fantasy, according to Dr. Smyth. He said there is no evidence to back the idea that legalizing cannabis will eliminate sales of potent variants on the black market.