For some teenagers smoking cannabis leads to serious mental health problems in later life including schizophrenia.
Cannabis use is responsible for up to 13 per cent of schizophrenia cases in the Netherlands.
Cannabis use is increasing, with teenagers commencing earlier and being more affected by the increasing strength of the THC in cannabis.
The link between cannabis use and psychosis, which is one of the hallmarks of schizophrenia, was established as far back as 1987 by a medical research team at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
The more cannabis that young people smoke cannabis and the earlier they smoked it then the worse the risk of psychosis.
Experts from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have confirmed that cannabis is part of the cause of schizophrenia.
Young people who smoked cannabis three times or more before the age of 15 were much more likely to suffer schizophrenia by the time they reached the age of 26.
(Source: New Scientist 26 March 2005)
Long term medical research has established the link between cannabis use and mental health problems.
With cannabis users commencing use much earlier, they should be directed into detoxification and rehabilitation programs so as to reduce the increasing number of cannabis users and their health problems.
Detoxification and rehabilitation programs for cannabis users do not exist in Australia, but are available overseas, and get cannabis users off cannabis permanently before additional health problems develop.