Cancer professionals in the United States have recently detailed the evidence into the effects of using cannabis including-
Cannabis is associated with adverse effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.
Cannabis smoke has more cancer causing carcinogens than cigarette smoke which may lead to lung cancer.
Cannabis smoke is an important risk factor in the development of respiratory disease.
Cannabis use is associated with increased risk of head and neck cancer, myocardial infarction, stroke and chronic bronchitis.
The immunosuppressive properties of cannabis may be detrimental to patients with cancer.
(Source: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network April 2012)
The links with using cannabis and developing cancer, particularly from smoking, show that cannabis should never be legalized.
Accordingly, medical professionals do not support cannabis in any form of treatment and know that cannabis use is likely to be causal in patients with cancer and other medical conditions.
Early intervention to prevent or stop cannabis use is likely to be highly beneficial to prevent future serious medical conditions in users.
As well, early intervention to prevent or stop cannabis use will be cost effective in saving health costs in the future.
As cannabis use is likely to first commence in teenage years, then early intervention programs aimed at stopping use are essential.
Psychiatrists in the USA have called on physicians to speak out in support of science based drug approval rather than allow cannabis use to be approved by public opinion.
Major medical associations have opposed the use of cannabis as a medicine as there is no scientific approval, dosage or quality control.
Drugs prescribed for medical conditions are available to combat symptoms for which medical cannabis is advocated.
The physicians have a duty to inform patients of the adverse impacts of cannabis use and its link to medical complications, mental illness and driving impairment.
(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry 6 June 2012 commentary)
This timely professional advice is pertinent to Australia where cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug.
Those pushing legalized illicit drug use in Australia do not understand the severe medical, mental and community impacts of drugs.
Cannabis causes addiction, drugged driving, memory deficits, decreased concentration, schizophrenia and other medical conditions.
Medical cannabis is a stalking horse for legalizing the manufacture, sale and use of cannabis.
Any acceptance of cannabis will ultimately lead to more use particularly amongst young people as the message is that cannabis use is OK.
Physicians need to be fully informed of the risks of cannabis use so as to assist any patients that come to them for help.
Cancer patients in particular need to know that cannabis use causes cancer and that any use will compound their medical problems.
Increased potency of cannabis has caused an increase in cannabis addiction rates.
Since 1992 the THC in cannabis has increased sharply.
It is now common for cannabis users to be treated for addiction.
Today’s cannabis is very different from that produced in the 1970’s.
The increase in addiction rates in cannabis users is due to the more potent hybridized cannabis strains.
The cannabis addiction rate increase is particularly severe in adolescents.
(Source: Trinity County Behavioral Health Services third series paper 17 February 2012)
This report from mental health service providers indicates that with more toxins in the THC in cannabis addiction can be predicted.
It dispels the myth that cannabis is not addictive.
Mental health services are being presented with many more clients that are addicted to cannabis.
Young adolescents are impacted by the use of the higher potency cannabis and the higher addiction rates.
In order to avoid the scientifically proven mental health harms of cannabis use, teenagers and adolescents need to be warned of the harms of using cannabis.
Those already addicted need drug rehabilitation to get them clean of their addiction before psychosis and health problems develop.
An anonymous survey conducted by Curtin University in Perth of 250 cannabis growers claim that most use the cannabis as a medicine.
(Source: National Drug Research Institute 19 November 2012)
However health professionals in Arkansas in the USA have outlined the serious health risks of cannabis as a medicine.
Cannabis use causes cancer, lung damage, breathing difficulties and no medicine is ever smoked.
There are plenty of scientifically tested pharmaceuticals that are better for pain relief and appetite stimulation which do not lead to addiction.
There are no clinical trials that show that cannabis is better.
(Source: Jonesboro Sun newspaper 31 October 2012)
Natural cannabis is becoming more toxic by the use of hybridized strains and hydroponic methods of cultivation which leads to more health harms and increasing addiction.
For people with existing health problems, using cannabis which suppresses the human immune system, can lead to medical complications.
As the stronger THC in cannabis has more cancer causing carcinogens it is likely to lead to worsening symptoms for people with any cancer.
Surveys of cannabis users need to be based on scientific evidence rather on what users think.
Medical evidence and thorough clinical trials are critical before any notice can be taken of surveys of users who do not have the truth of the harms.
Cannabis use in adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning
A team of researchers from New Zealand, the UK and USA in a Dunedin study found that adolescents who started using cannabis had a deficit in their IQ when in adulthood.
IQ results of the same persistent cannabis users at age 13 were lower at age 38.
(Source: The Independent, UK 28 August 2012)
This New Zealand study confirms other research on the long term harms of early cannabis use.
Continuous cannabis use can cause permanent brain deficiency and memory loss.
There is no research that points to this damage being able to be reversed later in life.
Adolescents that are already using cannabis need drug rehabilitation to get them free of the damage.
Adolescents that have not commenced cannabis use need accurate information on the long term harms of cannabis to dissuade them from ever commencing.
Those currently advocating legalizing cannabis must recognize these harms and accept the scientific research that opposes any expansion of cannabis use.
Cannabis use causes risks to the wider community by putting more drugged drivers on the road therefore it can never be considered a health issue.
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