Cannabis-related admissions to general and psychiatric hospitals increased by 90 per cent and 185 per cent respectively from 2008 to 2016, coinciding with a decline in perceived risk of regular use, according to new research.
Bobby Smyth, Anne O’Farrell and Antoinette Daly, writing in the latest issue of the Irish Medical Journal, argue that Ireland is seeing a changing pattern of cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms.
Their study is based on two national population surveys and three national treatment databases, focusing on people under the age of 34. It finds that cannabis is the illegal drug that causes the greatest amount of disability-adjusted years for older teenagers.
It cites research that shows cannabis use appears to contribute to the development of psychosis and that the risk of psychosis increases with higher potency THC, which is the substance in cannabis that causes the intoxication effects.
“Adolescent cannabis use is associated with depression and suicidality in early adulthood,” note the authors. “There is growing evidence that heavy cannabis use during adolescence has a negative impact on cognitive development and functioning.”
Source: Colin Gleeson, Irish Times, 15th October 2019