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High-strength cannabis linked to addiction and mental health problems

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As the strength or potency of cannabis products has increased worldwide over the years, so has the number of people being treated with cannabis, said the authors of the new study.

Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Unit at the University of Bath (UK) investigated the relationship between the types cannabis people use them with addiction and mental problems. Their work drew on 20 studies involving nearly 120,000 people.

After alcohol and nicotine, cannabis is the most widely used drug in the world. Recent statistics from the UK show that in the past year, almost one in five people aged between 16 and 24 have used cannabis.

Cannabis ability refers to the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis—the key psychoactive drug it contains. A recent study from this group in Bath found that the concentration of THC in cannabis has increased significantly over time, meaning that the cannabis used today is stronger than it was in the past.

The new study, published in Lancet Psychiatry, shows that people who use stronger marijuana are more likely to experience addiction than those who use lower strength products. It also suggests that people who use heavy marijuana are more at risk insensitivitylike schizophrenia.

These findings may help explain why so many people have found cannabis treatment for their problems in recent years. Data from the European Medicines Agency show a 76% increase in people entering treatment for cannabis over the past decade.

Based on these new results, the authors argue that public health guidelines and policies should be strengthened to help make cannabis use safer.

Lead author Kat Petrilli, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Bath, said: “Our current research has found that people who use cannabis to a greater extent may be at greater risk of developing a mental illness if compared to people who use cannabis products with lower limits.

“These results are important in the context of harm reduction, which means reducing the negative consequences of drug use. While the safest level of cannabis use is definitely ‘no use,’ it is important to recognize that the amount of many. People all over the world use cannabis regularly, and to make sure they can make decisions that can minimize any harm that comes with it.”

The authors suggest that strategies for safer cannabis use can inform how the drug is managed in the UK and internationally. Recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in the UK, but cannabis products are now legally sold for recreational use in Canada, Uruguay and parts of the US.

It seems that many other countries are planning to follow this trend, including Germany. In the UK, the Liberal Democrats argue that a regulated market could make cannabis use safer by enforcing limits on the strength of cannabis products, and channeling revenue and savings from this into education and dealing with cannabis problems.

Lead author Dr. Tom Freeman explained, “Our research shows that people who use cannabis can reduce their risk of harm by using less potent products. In places where cannabis is legally sold, the supply and consumers with detailed information about the contents of the product and access to low-dose drugs. – strong products can help people use cannabis safely.”

Despite the anecdotal evidence of the relationship between cannabis and anxiety and depression, the authors note that the relationship between the potency of cannabis and other mental health problems is unclear.


Many young people have started using marijuana illegally in states that have legalized it


Additional information:
The association of cannabis potency with mental illness and addiction: a systematic review, Lancet Psychiatry (2022). DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00161-4

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University of Bath

hintHigh-strength cannabis linked to addiction and mental health problems (2022, July 25) Retrieved 25 July 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-high-strength-cannabis-linked-addiction- mental.html

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