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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Is cannabis dangerous? A review of research over the last 20 years ...

From commentary in The Independent

"A newly published paper reminds health professionals, policy makers, and the public, of the potential acute and long-term risks of cannabis use

In his report, Professor Wayne Hall at The University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, considers how the evidence has evolved over the past 20 years. He points out potential risks, both in the short term, and higher risks for three settings: long-term heavy use, use in adolescence, and during pregnancy."

With acute use, risks of cannabis include psychological effects – some people have an unpleasant dysphoric rather than euphoric response – and impaired concentration and coordination, with risk of road and other accidents, enhanced in the presence of alcohol or other drugs. Risks from exposure during pregnancy include reduced birth weight and impaired post-natal educational development, at least until adolescence. Risks of sustained use from adolescence also include impaired intellectual development. Other reported adverse effects of long-term use of cannabis include dependence, the risk higher in those who start in adolescence, and an increased risk of psychotic symptoms, especially in those with a family history of psychotic disorders or those who start young.  Regular use in older adults increases the risk of heart attack and chronic bronchitis. Cardiovascular and respiratory risks of cannabis are increased by concomitant tobacco use.

 See more from the commentary ...

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