More than 125,000 people have been hospitalised after taking cannabis in the last five years, it has been revealed.
Since 2013, the number of hospital admissions has been on the rise, jumping by more than 50 per cent from 19,765 per year in 2013 – to 31,130 last year.
The Mail on Sunday reported that around 15,000 teenagers and even some children under the age of ten were admitted after taking either cannabis or Spice – a synthetic version of the drug.
According to doctors, some cannabis addicts are taking their own lives after suffering hallucinations, while others are now unable to lead normal lives.
While calls to decriminalise the drug are increasing, Craig Mackinlay MP warned: “Far too few people are aware of the severe mental health problems cannabis can cause, particularly on younger, developing brains.
“Caving in to populist demands to legalise a harmful drug is not the way to deal with preventing its normalisation and use.”
Medics also warned against treating the drug as harmless.
York University lecturer and former mental health nurse Ian Hamilton said cannabis users were increasingly being admitted to hospitals with “absolutely terrifying” psychotic episodes.
“People can see things, hear things, become hyper-anxious, or enter a state of ‘depersonalisation’, where they don’t feel they are real”, he said.
Matthew Gaskell, an NHS consultant psychologist, added that the drug can cause: “severe effects including a rapid heart rate, vomiting, violent behaviour, seizures and suicidal thoughts.”
‘Why make it easier’
Writing for The Times, Magnus Linklater remarked that it seemed “odd” to promote the wider use of cannabis just as alcohol is falling out of favour among young people.
He said: “The law is a powerful tool that is still effective in making cannabis – and particularly the strong, highly-addictive versions, such as skunk – relatively hard to access.
“Why make it easier, when we know so little about its effects on the brain?”
The US state of Colorado decriminalised cannabis in 2012.
Since then, evidence shows that children are being expelled from school at higher rates, there have been more road deaths, and homelessness has grown at one of the highest rates in the country.
In July this year, a hard-hitting documentary showed the devastating effect drug legalisation has had on the state.
Writing for The Conservative Woman, Co-Editor Kathy Gyngell said: “The failed state of post-pot legalisation Colorado is indeed a cautionary tale. In the course of this one-hour film, every legalising argument is shattered in face of the living reality.”