Cannabis is as addictive as heroin

08 October 2014

:: Cannabis doubles the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, with withdrawal
symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and depression;

:: Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, with the
risk heightened yet further if you have had a drink;

:: As many teenagers now smoke cannabis as cigarettes.

The Daily Mail quoted Prof Hall as saying: “If cannabis is not addictive,
then neither is heroin or alcohol.

“It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through
withdrawal than for heroin. We just don’t know how to do it.”

Less than half of users stay off the drug for six months or more following
treatment, Prof Hall found.

Despite the fact that no cannabis user had died from an overdose, long-term
use could be seriously damaging to mental health.

“The important point I am trying to make,” Prof Hall writes, “is
that people can get into difficulties with cannabis use, particularly if
they get into daily use over a long period.

“There is no doubt that heavy users experience a withdrawal syndrome as
with alcohol and heroin.

“Rates of recovery from cannabis dependence among those seeking treatment
are similar to those for alcohol.”

Drugs campaigners said the study showed that heavy cannabis use by teenagers
amounted to them playing “Russian roulette” with their mental

Mark Winstanley, of the Rethink Mental Illness charity, also called for the
Government to focus on educating young people about the dangers, rather than
classifying and then reclassifying the drug, as the last Government did.

Mr Winstanley told the Mail: “Too often cannabis is wrongly seen as a
safe drug, but as this review shows, there is a clear link with psychosis
and schizophrenia, especially for teenagers.

“The common view that smoking cannabis is nothing to get worked up about
needs to be challenged more effectively. Instead of classifying and
reclassifying, Government time and money would be much better spent on
educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a
very real game of Russian Roulette with your mental health.”

Tony Blair’s government relaxed the law on cannabis, reclassifying it from
class ‘B’ to ‘C’ in 2004. This was reversed after Gordon Brown entered
Downing Street in 2007.

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