Cannabis-What teenagers need to know?

A new educational DVD available in Australia unlocks the scientific evidence between cannabis use and psychotic illness in young people.

The program from the BBC Panorama series suggests that cannabis can cause long term chemical changes in the human brain and that it can become the gateway making users more likely to take other drugs.

Contrary to the argument that cannabis is only one risk factor in a users mental illness the link has been proven with cannabis as the cause.

A New Zealand study has now found that there may be genetic factors at work as well as people with psychosis have increased levels of the chemical called Dopamine which effects a gene called COMT.

Cannabis users with normal COMT genes were little affected.

Users with mixed COMT genes, smoking cannabis slightly increased their risk of psychosis.

However, teenagers with abnormal COMT genes that smoked cannabis increased their likelihood of developing psychosis by a factor of TEN.

(Source: BBC Worldwide, at www.bbclearningasiapacific.com)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

This new educational DVD from the BBC should be available to Australian teenagers to show them the enormous risks of cannabis use.

Illicit drugs damage the brain function and structure, memory formation, learning, mood, mental control, neuronal birth and connections.

Other damage is to the immune system, respiratory side effects, cell death, gene damage and cancer.

Australia MUST reduce its drug using population by providing voluntary or court ordered detoxification and rehabilitation to get illicit drug users free of drugs.