Cannabis

Cannabis causes mental illness

Cannabis use is now the biggest single cause of serious mental disorders in the UK, according to a leading expert.

Up to 80 per cent of new patients at many units have a history of smoking the drug.

Short-term effects:

  • Short-term memory problems
  • Severe anxiety, including fear that one is being watched or followed (paranoia)
  • Very strange behaviour, seeing, hearing or smelling things that aren’t there; not being able to tell imagination from reality (psychosis)
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of sense of personal identity
  • Lowered reaction time
  • Increased heart rate (risk of heart attack)
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Problems with coordination (impairing safe driving or playing sports)
  • Sexual problems (for males)
  • Up to seven times more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections than non-users (for females)

Long-term effects:

  • Decline in IQ (up to 8 points if prolonged use started in adolescent age)
  • Poor school performance and higher chance of dropping out
  • Impaired thinking and ability to learn and perform complex tasks
  • Lower life satisfaction
  • Addiction (about 9% of adults and 17% of people who started smoking as teens)
  • Potential development of opiate abuse
  • Relationship problems, intimate partner violence
  • Antisocial behaviour including stealing money or lying
  • Financial difficulties
  • Increased welfare dependence
  • Greater chances of being unemployed or not getting good jobs

There are two psycho active compounds in Cannabis: CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

CBD produces a calming mellow effect and is being researched by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new anti-anxiety medicines. THC on the other hand stimulates and speeds up the brain, It gets you very high and stoned (compared to CBD) but it’s also what causes the paranoid unpleasant feelings you sometimes get.

The different types of highs (mellow or rush) you get from different products are mainly due to different ratios of CBD to THC.

Over the years the growers have selectively bred plants to have a higher and higher THC content because this is what gets you the most high for your money.

This has produced the common modern-day skunk and it’s really bad development from a mental health point of view.

One will often ask:
“Why can one person smoke cannabis and not seem to be affected and yet another person develop side effects, suffer mental health problems, develop psychosis or schizophrenia ?”

The reasons can be:

It may not be a problem for everyone but for people with a pre-existing vulnerability to psychosis; frequently smoking cannabis with a high THC content significantly increases the risk of psychosis, perhaps up to as much as six-fold. Smoking cannabis from a young age; whilst the brain is still developing, does the worst damage possible. Anything less than the age of 16 is especially harmful. Especially, when teenagers start smoking cannabis with a high THC and then proceed to smoke it continuously for several years after that. The consequence being that 5 percent of them will have a psychotic event in their 20’s.

Sometimes people recover from this psychotic episode and sometimes not.

“I blame cannabis for my son’s eventual suicide.”

You are more likely to develop an addiction if you use cannabis every day. “Over time, chronic use becomes addiction!” Plus if you use cannabis just to get high and not for medical purposes, you’re more likely to become an addict yourself.

Tolerance to cannabis is said to develop when the response to the same dose of cannabis decreases with repeated use.

Tolerance is characterised by the need for a larger dose of medication to maintain the original effect.

This often leads to users looking for stronger types such as ‘skunk’. These are more dangerous and can lead to changes in the brain chemistry; leading to psychosis and other mental health illnesses.

You can’t be sure what you are smoking!

The amount of cannabis someone smokes, the strength and where it comes from, can cause different effects. Dealers can spray Cannabis with a number of substances to get you addicted including heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, methadone, diazepam to name a few (giving the drug a unique ‘marker’ , so that you return to the same dealer). You can’t be sure what you are smoking.

You can become both addicted and dependent on cannabis.

Psychologically, the mood swings, irritability, insomnia and headaches some people experience when they give up using cannabis are severe enough to compel them to use again; despite wanting to give up.

Cannabis can form a strong potentially problematic dependency.

1 in 10 people that habitually use cannabis become dependent on its’ effect and have considerable difficulty giving it up.

Withdrawal from Cannabis can cause severe symptoms. Depression can be one of the symptoms of withdrawal. The lack of being “high” can cause the user to become depressed.

Concentration and memory problems can also be a problem and can last for a while after withdrawal. The frequency and amount of Cannabis the smoker used prior to stopping effects the severity and length of the withdrawal.

Peter Smith of Balancing Brain Chemistry is an expert on helping patients who want to try quitting cannabis or other addictions.

This website at www.balancingbrainchemistry.co.uk gives brilliant advice on ways to quit and symptoms of withdrawal and how to overcome them.

My son Jordan visited him in London and this helped considerably. Jordan took alternative supplements and was free from cannabis for quite some time. His moods were better; his relationships with family and friends improved. However, he did eventually get fed up of taking the supplements and returned to the cannabis! Unfortunately, the majority of Jordan’s friends smoked cannabis or took other drugs; making quitting so much more difficult for him!

I have used the supplements on other people and myself, for anxiety, depression and balancing the brain, the results are incredible.

Depression, anxiety and an imbalanced brain can be hidden with drugs, cannabis and alcohol making it difficult for the outside world to see the true deep rooted problems!

Bearing in mind all the emotional, psychological and health related problems associated with smoking cannabis, what is it worth ruining your life for?