How much longer will we have to listen to those who tell us they only use cannabis for a bit of fun or recreation? How much longer will we see the law of the land being broken? How much longer will we see our children subjected to peer pressure to use drugs for the “crack”? How long more will we ignore the dealers who are well known in their communities? “Only part of growing up”, or. “Only experiencing new feelings and experimenting”, those promoting its legalisation say. We even have elected representatives promoting the use of cannabis to be made legal. It is time we all woke up to the long-term damage that any drug, including cannabis, can leave in its wake, much of it irreversible for life. It is sad that some in power are sounding out reasons to help legalise cannabis, the most popular of recreational drugs used in many countries across the world.
Cannabis may give a sense of euphoria, a drunken feeling, or a euphoric sensation but studies carried out over many years in Australia and New Zealand and many other countries including the Netherlands tells a different story.
A recent study in New Zealand carried out with a thousand people under eighteen years of age has found that cannabis leaves a significant and irreversible reduction in their IQ. It also found that weekly use of cannabis resulted in a twofold increase in depression and anxiety, especially in young women and, this persisted into later life. Regular use of cannabis triggers acute psychotic episodes and worsen outcomes in established psychosis. Daily users reported high levels of depression, anxiety, fatigue and low motivation. In another study of young adults, over 33% reported they had suffered anxiety and panic attacks with 15% reporting psychotic symptoms following the use of cannabis. The study also found that they under achieve and are less successful in their chosen occupation and eventual marriage. The more they use, the greater the long-term effects of cannabis.
And we are all asked to buy into the myth that cannabis is ok to use, it is only a recreational drug doing no harm!
Other research available have shown users develop dependence, impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease, psychotic symptoms and adverse outcomes of adolescent development, namely poorer educational outcomes and an increased likelihood of using other illicit drugs. Further disturbing evidence from research in Sweden showed cannabis was associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.
So why do we continue to be fooled by those looking to legalise cannabis? Is it because they may be addicted and do not want to be law breakers? The research shows that the use of cannabis have plenty of long-term negative effects on the user that affect all of society. So have we learned nothing from legalising alcohol, nicotine, or prescribed drugs? All these put together cost the taxpayer multi billions every year in health, in criminality and in education. Not to mention lost days at work or long-term sick leave. Once a drug is legalised it is accepted by society no matter what the consequences for those who must pay by added taxes and frustration.
When we look at the detrimental health effects of cannabis use on some and the scarce resources that are now being allocated to those in dire need of the Mental Health Services, it is time that the long-term effects of cannabis and all other illicit drugs be highlighted and the law brought to bear on those who sell and deal in drugs. We all recognise that our country is awash with all kinds of drugs and they are readily available in every town and village. The time has come to tackle this enormous problem and find ways of addressing addiction and the tentacles that flows from this problem to the detriment of society and to our next generation.
Communities need to get together, as they did recently in Roscrea, and shout out loud that a stop must be put to this scourge and the damage being done to our citizens. All drugs have far reaching implications for those that use and abuse, so maybe we should again promote the benefits of abstinence and ask young people to take a “pledge” not to indulge. Their lives would most certainly be better and more peaceful when they have full control of their senses and can make proper decisions that will bring them happiness. Much of the violence we see now would be eliminated and families would be saved the pain and trauma of seeing the end result of what is mood altering and personality destruction in our country.