A new study has found that one in four new cases of psychosis can be linked to super strong ‘skunk’ cannabis. The study has also found that there are approximately 60,000 people in the UK living with symptoms including paranoia and hallucinations, which have developed as a result of strong cannabis abuse. Of those who have smoked skunk in the past, over 300,000 will experience symptoms of psychosis.
The study, which was conducted over six years, has found that those who smoke skunk on a daily basis are five times as likely to develop psychosis as someone who has never smoked it. There is now an urgent need for the public to be educated about the dangers of skunk abuse. Moreover, with new versions being developed in the Netherlands that are even stronger than those currently available in the UK, educating the public becomes even more important.
These new findings have highlighted the long running debate regarding the legalisation of cannabis and its current classification. Some supporters of cannabis use have been calling for the drug to be decriminalised but the new findings have led to others calling for restrictions to become even tougher, especially for some varieties. Justice secretary Chris Grayling has said that this study now underlines arguments against decriminalising cannabis.
Researchers from King’s College London studied approximately 800 adults from South London, with around half of them having recently been treated for a psychotic episode. Of those studied, it was found that schizophrenia had doubled since the mid 60’s and this is thought to be a result of cannabis use. Although the number of people using cannabis has declined in the past ten years, the drug has become much stronger.
Traditional cannabis contains about four per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in the drug. In comparison, skunk contains around fifteen per cent of THC. The study found that there is a strong link between mental health and the frequency and strength of the cannabis used.
The study found that those who began smoking the drug before aged 15 were more likely to develop psychosis than those who did not. The paper states, “Our findings show the importance of raising public awareness of the risk associated with use of high-potency cannabis, especially when such varieties of cannabis are becoming more available.”
The lead author of the paper, Dr Marta Di Forti has said that one of the most important factors of cannabis treatment is often overlooked. She said that GPs tend to ask patients whether or not they use cannabis but neglect to ask them how often they actually use it, which is very important when it comes to treatment. She says the most important questions are ‘what type of cannabis is used’ and ‘how often is it used’.
One of the most interesting points of the paper is the fact that, if nobody were to smoke high potency skunk, almost a quarter of psychosis cases could be prevented. It is therefore vital that the public are educated about the dangers of strong versions of the drug.
If you or a loved one has a cannabis addiction then it needs to be treated. Rehab Helper is a free referral service that can put you in touch with treatment providers across the UK. If you want to break free from your addiction, call us today for free, independent advice and support. We have a team of expert advisors ready to take your call.