LONDON, October 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
THE UK'S CANNABIS POLICY IS CREATING A NEW MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS - THE GOVERNMENT MUST URGENTLY CONSIDER OPTIONS FOR REFORM
A new study, Street Lottery, published today by drug policy think tank Volteface reveals how a complete failure of government policy relating to cannabis is putting the mental health of young people at risk. This can be seen through the rise of high potency 'street cannabis', a dramatic increase in mental health conditions linked to cannabis use and near ubiquitous teenage access to the illicit black market. At the same time, arrests and prosecutions for possession and production of cannabis have plummeted. Leaving cannabis policy out of control and wholly in the hands of criminals is no longer an option.
The report finds:
- Almost all the cannabis being sold on the UK's streets today - 'street cannabis' - is high in THC and very low in CBD. THC is the chemical in cannabis that gets users 'high', but which also correlates with dependency and problematic side-effects such as paranoia and psychosis when consumed in high amounts. CBD is the protective chemical in cannabis that mitigates against THC's negative effects.
- Hospital admissions have more than doubled for mental health conditions linked to cannabis use in the past decade.
- Arrests for cannabis possession by police have halved in the past 10 years.
- Young people report being able to access cannabis more easily than alcohol and cigarettes, with frontline services indicating that this group are experiencing a range of mental health problems linked to their use of street cannabis.
- The UK must consider following Canada and legislating for a legal, regulated market for cannabis.
The current status quo around cannabis - strict illegality, but patchy enforcement - allows a completely unregulated illicit street market to flourish, with incentives for dealers to produce more potent, addictive versions of the drug that are likely to create new mental health conditions and exasperate existing ones.
The Government must act if the public is to be reassured that our young people are not needlessly being put at risk of developing mental health problems because of its failures to confront the shortcomings of our cannabis laws. It can no longer turn a blind eye.
Read the report here: http://volteface.me/publications/street-lottery
Full press release: http://volteface.me/press-release-street-lottery/ (Password: embargoedpr3ss)