“Volteface” think tank to legalize Super-strong cannabis
Super-strength cannabis strains are now ubiquitous on the streets and could be causing serious mental illnesses. A mental health crisis caused by super-strength cannabis is being exacerbated by Government policy putting criminalization ahead of young people’s well-being, a new report claims.
The study, by drugs, think tank Volteface and researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University and King’s College London, found that high-potency cannabis has become almost ubiquitous on the streets. At the same time, mental health referrals linked to the drug have soared, and police prosecutions for possession have halved in the last 10 years.
The authors say the combination is putting young people’s mental health at risk, and they call for the creation of a tightly controlled legal market in cannabis that would enable the harmful effects of new strains to be managed. Steve Moore of Volteface told Sky News leaving cannabis to the illicit market had incentivized growers and dealers to develop more potent strains.
“In a regulated market we could provide a range of options, and we could give really clear harm reduction messages,” he said. “A really good example is how we have alcohol regulation at the moment. “You have 5%, 13%, 40% alcohol, but you get the choice and the knowledge and the information.
“With cannabis that doesn’t exist at all. “And because we can’t enforce it, we can’t control it, and the police haven’t got the resources we need to look for other models to make it work.” Cannabis potency is determined by the relative quantities of two chemicals: the psychoactive agent THC, which causes the cannabis high and is associated with addiction and side effects, and CBD, a protective agent that mitigates against its effects.
In more than 50 samples bought in Manchester and tested by researchers, everyone had high levels of THC, around 15-20%, and negligible CBD content, meeting the definition of high-potency street cannabis. Source: Sky News