Legalisation could mitigate mental health risk of high-THC cannabis, say experts
Cannabis Health News
A new study into the health effects of high-THC cannabis has highlighted concerns, pointing to the need for a regulated market, say some experts. Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath systematically analysed the relationship between the types of cannabis people use and their addiction and mental health problems. Drawing on 20 studies, involving almost 120,000 people, as the potency of cannabis products has increased internationally over the years, so have rates of people being treated for cannabis addiction, according to the authors. Experts say the study has highlighted the harm caused by prohibition, with co-author of the paper, Dr Tom Freeman, telling Cannabis Health that regulation “could improve the situation”. Cannabis potency refers to the concentration of THC, the key psychoactive compound in the plant. Previous studies from the same researchers, have found that the concentration of THC in cannabis has increased significantly over the last 50 years, up by 14 per cent from 1970 to 2017. Dr Freeman explained that this is due to a variety of factors, including the development of more “innovative efforts” to enhance THC content during production, such as separating the male and female parts of the plant, using UV light and indoor growing, as well as more advanced extraction methods and developments in genetics and breeding. The new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, suggests that people who use high-potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction than those using low-potency products. It also suggests that people using high potency cannabis are more likely to experience a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia. However, the evidence around the association of cannabis with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression was less clear cut. “One of the things that we were interested in is harm reduction and whether…
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