In the United Kingdom, children as young as 9 are being admitted to hospitals, with severe disorders caused by marijuana.
According to the official figures by National Health Service (NHS), the publicly funded national healthcare system for England, hospitals in the country are seeing 580 cases of marijuana-related illness each week, which is a staggering 52% rise in 4 years. Furthermore, stats indicate that more than 3,400 patients under the age of 19 went to the hospital due to mental and behavioral illnesses brought on by cannabis in 2018.
Doctors believe that teens are buying cannabis via social media websites and apps.
The figures by the NHS, however, do not represent the true picture as it only takes into account severe cases of patients that had to be admitted to a ward or specialist unit.
These figures have further aggravated the controversy surrounding ‘skunk’ – strong forms of marijuana – that are easily available across Britain. A recent study had shown that skunk could increase the likelihood of developing psychosis manifold.
Reportedly, around 30% of new cases of psychosis in London have been linked to skunk cannabis.
Since cannabis dealers are openly advertising on their websites, many children believe that it is safer than alcohol.
Dr. Niall Campbell, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital in London, which treats NHS patients, said that most of the paranoid patients in their early 20’s are basically victims of cannabis abuse.
“They believe they are being watched, followed and listened to 24 hours a day by unknown pursuers who mean to harm or kill them. This can lead to violent, or sometimes suicidal, behavior as they flee imagined pursuers,” Dr. Campbell was quoted as saying to a leading English newspaper.
Although boys account for the majority of cases, girls are catching up as well. NHS figures show that the number of girls, under the age of 19, being admitted for marijuana-related disorders has risen by over 43 percent in four years from 2014-2018.
Strict measures need to be enforced by the lawmakers, especially in terms of regulating social media, unless more ‘innocent’ youth may fall victim to cannabis abuse.