New research from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne has found that people that smoke cannabis risk lung disease 20 years earlier than those that only smoke cigarettes.
Patients report symptoms from breathlessness to chest infection, which can commence as early as age 28.
(Source: ABC Radio News 25 March 2006)
The Sutherland Hospital in Sydney has started a cannabis clinic to treat more than 400 cannabis users.
The New South Wales government confirms that cannabis use can lead to psychosis, depression, anxiety, increased suicide, impaired cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems, premature aging, short term memory dysfunction, slow brain development in young people, addiction and mental illness.
(Source: Minister for Health Media Release 19 March 2006)
Cannabis is the most used illicit drug in Australia so its adverse health impacts are likely to be widespread and require more health services and more cost to the taxpayers.
Cannabis use brings forward health problems so the cost to our community will commence earlier and be more in the long term.
Cigarette smoking is now very costly to smokers and health budgets so cannabis smoking will cost considerably more to users and taxpayers.
Cannabis users need assistance to stop using illicit drugs before illicit drugs bring them to physical and mental illnesses.
Australia needs more cannabis detoxification and rehabilitation programs to reduce the demand and substantially cut the number of users.