telegraph.co.uk 12th June 2013
The number of cannabis users suffering serious mental or behaviour disorders has increased by half in just four years.
The sharp rise has coincided with growing concerns over the increased prevalence of so-called “super skunk”, a particularly strong form of the drug.
In 2008, leading psychiatrists warned people who smoked super strength were 18 times more likely to suffer a psychotic episode.
Figures released to MPs show that the number of hospital admission for mental or behavioural issues due to cannabis rose from 651 in 2008/09 to 1,003 in 2011/12.
Mary Brett, who chairs the campaign group Cannabis Skunk Sense (CanSS), said: “’Despite many warnings over the years the rise in admissions must surely be truly alarming.
“However, this 54 per cent increase in episodes of cannabinoid-induced mental or behavioural issues should come as no surprise.
“Skunk, which accounts for about 80 per cent of the UK market has an average THC (a psychoactive ingredient) content of 16.2 per cent and ranges up to 46 per cent.
“Old fashioned 60 to 70s cannabis had around 1-2 per cent THC. “
In 2008, research by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London suggested a direct link between skunk and the development of mental illness.
Scientists found that people who had a psychotic episode were twice as likely to have used cannabis for more than six years, three times more likely to have used it daily and 18 times more likely to use skunk.
Cannabis was reclassified as a Class B drug in 2009 some five years after being downgraded to Class C.