'Skunk-like cannabis' increases risk of psychosis, study suggests – BBC News
16 February 2015
Last updated at 07:56
Smoking potent cannabis was linked to 24% of new psychosis cases analysed in a study by King’s College London.
The research suggests the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent “skunk-like” cannabis than for non-users.
The study of 780 people was carried out by KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.
A Home Office spokesman said the report underlines the reasons why cannabis is illegal.
Scientists found the risk of psychosis was five times higher for those who use it every day compared with non-users.
They also concluded the use of hash, a milder form of the drug, was not associated with increased risk of psychosis.
Psychosis refers to delusions or hallucinations that can be present in certain psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Risk increased ‘threefold’
“Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis,’ said Dr Marta Di Forti, lead author on the research.
She added: “The results show that psychosis risk in cannabis users depends on both the frequency of use and cannabis potency.”
Dr Di Forti told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the availability of skunk-like cannabis was becoming more widespread.
“In London, it’s very difficult to find anything else,” she said.
“There were lots of reports from police across the UK saying we have become a great producer of skunk. And not only do we use it locally but we export, so this is a Made in England product.”
Someone suffering from psychosis would often be “extremely paranoid and become very suspicious” about the people around them, she added.
She has called for “a clear public message” to cannabis users, comparable to medical advice on alcohol and tobacco.
GPs should be encouraged to ask how often and what type of cannabis patients use, she added,
A Home Office spokesman said the findings backed up the government’s approach: “Drugs such as cannabis are illegal because scientific and medical evidence demonstrates they are harmful.
“This report serves to emphasise how they can destroy lives … – Click Here To Visit Article Source