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I heard the news that Canada became the second country in the world to legalise the recreational use of cannabis and, in all honesty, it shocked me. Mums are smoking weed while pregnant to get rid of morning sickness The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, believes that legalising the drug will help keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime, but in our experience of treating some 140 patients per month for various addictions, addiction to ‘harder’ drugs in our patients stems from them trying cannabis at a young age. At our seven treatment centres, almost all of the patients that we treated for either heroin or cocaine addiction in 2017 started their experience of taking drugs in their childhood by using cannabis. 

This is why I ultimately believe that Canada’s decision is ludicrous, dangerous and in all honesty a bit short-sighted. It worries me that they’re perhaps prioritising cutting down crime in the short term because taking away the illegal element to growing and selling the drug will put a stop to funding criminals preying on those most vulnerable. But this decision opens up the door to the current and future younger generations being more accepting of a drug that can be addictive. Cannabis use can cause dependency in the same way as other drugs do such as cocaine or alcohol, both on a chemical and behavioural level. When a person uses cannabis, the active ingredient of the drug – THC – travels through the bloodstream and heads straight for the brain. Once in the brain, it mimics the endogenous cannabinoids, disrupting brain function and the brain ultimately enjoys pleasure which will make the person believe it wants more. 

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The acute and long-term effects of THC on the brain and behavior are mediated via the vast endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was not discovered until the early 1990s and remains poorly understood. However, addiction is addiction and the psychopathology associated with marijuana, especially the high potency products, amid the drumbeat for full legalization in the absence of any serious scientific scrutiny is tantamount to political malpractice.

Use can be associated with psychosis, depression, suicidality and premature death…There is not a speck of scientific evidence to suggest that marijuana is a viable “Medically-Assisted Treatment” modality for opioid addiction…like all addictive substances, marijuana degrades neuronal signaling germane to reward incentive and processing, resulting in marked emotional dysregulation. Chronic use is associated with anhedonia, cognitive deficits and psychiatric disease. Marijuana Use Disorder comports with our known model of addiction at every level. The challenge is to educate a public that has been sold a bill of goods and manipulated by claims of efficacy, safety for everything from cancer to pain, without any FDA scrutiny for safety or efficacy

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The Legalization of marijuana in Colorado has introduce a host of problems for the state – problems often glossed over by the pot industry and the regulators and decision makers they finance. Today’s highly potent marijuana represents a growing and significant threat to public health and safety – a threat amplified by a new marijuana industry intent on profiting from heavy use. State laws allowing marijuana has (in direct contradiction to federal law) permitted this industry to flourish. The full extent of the consequences of these policies will not be known for decades!

See S.A.M (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

Downlaod Report here 

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All Young Cannabis Users Face Psychosis Risk  (Medscape and JAMA Psychiatry)  June 15, 2018

Cannabis use directly increases the risk for psychosis in teens, new research shows. A large prospective study of teens shows that "in adolescents, cannabis use is harmful" with respect to psychosis risk, study author Patricia J. Conrod, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of Montreal, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

The study included 3720 adolescents from the Co-Venture cohort, which represents 76% of all grade 7 students attending 31 secondary schools in the greater Montreal area.

Cannabis use, in any given year, predicted an increase in psychosis symptoms a year later, said Conrod. This type of analysis is more reliable than biological measures, such as blood tests, said Conrod. "Biological measures aren't sensitive enough to the infrequent and low level of use that we tend to see in young adolescents," she said.

The effect was observed for the entire cohort. This finding, said Conrod, means that all young cannabis users face psychosis risk, not just those with a family history of schizophrenia or a biological factor that increases their susceptibility to the effects of cannabis.

"The whole population is prone to have this risk," she said.

In light of these results, Conrod called for increased access by high school students to evidence-based cannabis prevention programs.

The study was published online June 6 in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Kathy Donaghy  June 10 2018 

Any debate around the legalisation of cannabis must take into account the harm it causes, one of the country's leading psychiatrists has warned.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Matthew Sadlier is calling for a public health campaign to educate people about the dangers of cannabis use.

As attitudes to cannabis use become more relaxed and tolerance increases in society in general, Dr Sadlier says many young people's lives are being wrecked by habitual use of the drug - and that this side of the story is not being heard.

In his work as a general adult psychiatrist in north Dublin over the last five years, he says he could comfortably say that a third of all his patients had been referred because of cannabis.

"There are people out there who have developed long-term psychotic illnesses from smoking cannabis. If they'd never smoked it, they would never have developed it. We know that acute usage causes neurological conditions. The question is does it have a long-term effect?

"We know that the younger you start smoking it, the more likely it is to have a lasting, damaging effect. What gets my blood boiling is that it's also carcinogenic. We have spent 40 years getting cigarette smoking down, but smoking cannabis has the same negative effects as cigarette smoking," says Dr Sadlier.

"I think there has to be a public health campaign because the information out there for young people is very confused. We have people speaking up for the medicinal effects. Street cannabis is a very different thing and it's very dangerous," he says.

"I have seen families ripped apart by cannabis use. I've seen people with good futures ahead of them fall into apathy due to chronic cannabis use. People need to be educated about this. In my opinion, it's much more dangerous than alcohol," says Dr Sadlier.

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