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Is high-strength cannabis causing mental health issues?

Is high-strength cannabis causing mental health issues?

A large study finds that high strength cannabis is taking a toll on people’s mental health.

One of the largest studies to occur in this field states that it is having a  severely negative impact on users. The study says it should be acted on by Government imminently.

Currently, cannabis is the mostly commonly used illegal drug in the UK.

As the use of cannabis rises, arguably, so are the health issues associated with the drug.

Cannabis use is linked to psychosis?

Previous studies have linked cannabis use to psychosis, a severe mental health problem.

But this recent study has estimated that people who smoke the drug daily are up to 3 times as likely to suffer from psychosis.

The use of higher strength cannabis may increase the chances even more.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a disorder that causes patients to perceive or interpret things differently to those that are around them.

It is a recognised mental condition in the medical profession. The symptoms can be distinguished from those of getting a high from the drug.

Causing the main concern is the ingredient THC, which produces the high. Users of the strains that contain high levels of THC are also those who are more likely to experience episodes of psychosis followed by a potential diagnosis.

Cannabis with a THC concentrate of 14 percent now makes up 94 percent of the drugs sold in London.

If these more potent strains of cannabis were no longer available, researchers suggest the rates of psychosis could fall dramatically from 46 to 32 per 100,000 people every year.

Many other researchers are, however, stating these claims are ‘misinformed and reckless’.

While it is accepted by these researchers that those diagnosed with psychosis may be more likely to report the current or previous use of such drugs, it is still thought by others to be untrue that there is a direct cause between the two.

However, it is proven that cannabis-induced psychosis can be distinguished from other types of psychosis, which inevitably helps in accurately diagnosing such disorders.

It is therefore important for those that use the drug to be educated on the potential risks to their mental health not just their health, which is why researchers are calling for Government to act.

Melanie Lidstone-Land, head of Mental Health law at Swain & Co Solicitors, comments,

"There is a mental health crisis in the UK. There are so many reasons why this is the case. Whilst cannabis use may be one, it may be a symptom.

But what is of more concern at the moment is availability of treatment.  Many people are not being able to access mental health treatment due to lack of resources, long waiting times and a tendency of medical professionals to treat with medication only.

Whilst medication may be needed, it cannot be used in isolation. We need to see more people accessing therapy and able to continue to access help in the community and more thorough treatments on the NHS."


Melanie Lidstone-Land heads our specialist mental health law team who help those people facing mental health difficulties, and their families.

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