New cannabis type prompts call for action

By chillinwill · Dec 21, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    A new breed of powerful cannabis and ballooning costs in treating its health effects have led to calls for urgent action, including drug education for primary school children.

    The information, in a National Drug Intelligence Bureau report obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, shows that cannabis, the most widely used illicit drug, causes more than $30 million a year in hospital bills.

    The report the first of its kind to use information from Customs, health and police officials warns that the drug is likely to become more harmful. The threat posed by high-potency "re-engineered" cannabis has been steadily increasing, it says.

    Hospital costs jumped 50 per cent from $19.5 million in 2004 to $31 million in 2005. Of the 2062 hospital cases in 2005, 48 admissions cost between $100,000 and $370,000 each.

    The report calls for further action to reduce supply and demand as communities have become "comfortable with high prevalence levels".

    Included is a call to curb the "alarming" trend of teenagers to use cannabis by making drug education programmes an immediate priority in primary schools.

    Cannabis could account for up to 10 per cent of cases of psychosis, the report says, pointing to increasing admission rates for psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and behavioural disorders.

    Bureau co-ordinator Detective Inspector Stuart Mills said the report provided the first big picture of cannabis' harmful effects.

    "We talk about methamphetamine, but here we can see the harm it causes with the number of hospital admissions caused solely by cannabis."

    Health Minister Tony Ryall said he had not yet read the report, but suspected the cost to the health system would be "significantly higher than that, when you consider its contribution to accidents and family breakdown".

    The call for primary school drug education is welcomed by the Wellington youth drug and alcohol counselling service WellTrust. The average age at which the trust's clients begin using cannabis is about 12, executive officer Murray Trenberth says.

    The report says users prefer marijuana grown indoors, where "a consistently higher-quality product is achieved". Scientific tests ESR completed this year are believed to confirm increasing amounts of THC, the ingredient responsible for the giving the "high", in cannabis.

    Police have refused a request for the THC test results, but the report says levels are believed to have increased between six and 12 per cent since the late 1990s.


    Key findings in the Customs, Police and Health Ministry report:

    * Cannabis-related hospital admissions exceeded the numbers admitted for opiates, amphetamines and cocaine combined.

    * In 2005, more than 2062 hospital admissions were related to cannabis. There was also a big jump in emergency department admissions from 61 in 2001 to 142 in 2005.

    * Maori account for nearly half of all cannabis-related hospital admissions.

    * The majority of patients were suffering from a psychotic disorder, followed by cannabis poisoning, harmful use, dependence and acute intoxication.

    * The cost of cannabis hospital admissions increased from $22 million in 2001 to $35 million in 2005.

    * In 2006, some 25,580 cannabis plants were seized in more than 1075 raids. Bay of Plenty was the worst, with 266.409kg of cannabis seized.

    * A quarter of all cannabis seized is linked to organised crime.

    Source: New Cannabis: The Cornerstone of Illicit Drug Harm in New Zealand.

    The Dominion Post
    Posted on Monday, 22 December 2008

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  1. Alfa
    What a load of bullshit. There must be more to this story, as many aspects of it are easily to verify to be untrue. I doubt that the official report coming from the government is so tainted.
  2. Desertfox
    And how many hospital visits for legal prescription drug OD's and adverse reactions? SWIM bets the number is incredibly larger than cannabis's numbers. Amphetamine and methylphenidate are legal but are much more damaging to swim's social life, behavior and health. Oh and don't let me forget alcohol, how many hospital visits occur because of this psychoretarding molecule. Weed is phenomanaly safer than these legal substances. why do thy keep trying to demonize it and keep it illegal.

    And the potency of cannabis hasn't increased that much its just that the government was testing mexican dirt weed back in the day with very low THC content.

    Swim forgot to add that these hospital visits most likely stem from the fact that people are uneducated with the effects and dosage of cannabis that a first timer may smoke too much or take to big of a hit and think they're dying so they go to the hospital where the doctors provide no help other than saying "oh you smoked weed you'll be fine in a few hours just sit here til you feel better." And in turn that stoned individual's parents are notified and then the family looks down upon the individual as a druggie or pot-head. This is a vicious cycle that needs to end. soon. stay above the ignorance.
  3. Felix Guattari
    Whoa! People are breeding cannabis for higher potency? That's new.

    The statistic that I'd be most interested in investigating though would be this one:

    After you get past the fact that the sentence doesn't make any sense grammatically (is 'it' sneakily referring to both methamphetamine and cannabis? Or is it two sentences spliced together? If so, what is the claim of the second sentence?), one has to wonder if Mills is simply misreading the statistic on admissions related to cannabis, or if there are actually hoards of people being admitted to hospitals 'solely' because of cannabis.

    And are 'increased admission rates' for disorders actually being used as the standard by which a decline in public mental health is to be judged? I can see an argument for it, but why cite that statistic?

    As usual, the vagueness of the claims made leave me confused and don't really tell anything new.
  4. RaverHippie
    I see a lot of implied causal relationships when there is no evidence to suggest the strong link necessary to quote these statistics as in the article. Also the title was misleading, they never mentioned the "new breed" or even its THC content. They're just mystically saying there's a new stronger strain wreaking havoc on our children since the age of 12.

    yellow sensationalist journalism at its finest. woohoo...
  5. Herbal Healer 019
    Whats this "cannabis poisoning" they speak of? Cannabis is not toxic in any way shape or form

    If anything cannabis, obviously not when smoked, is beneficial to health considering the fact that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, neuroprotectant, bronchodilatory etc.. properties

    When is the media gonna give it up & admit that cannabis is not dangerous. You never see half as many articles as there are for cannabis & its "dangers" stating how dangerous alcohol is & how many ppl have been admitted to hospitals annually for alcohol poisoning and other alcohol related incidents. Im sure those results would b pretty shocking
  6. lostmente
    Cannabis can be very dangerous in the wrong hands..but that group of people is small and some would say they are in danger regardless of their drug intake. Swim experienced ideation's of reference most of the time he smoked weed, however swim believes most drug users understand ideation's of reference but for the most part have the tenacity to overcome them.
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