Mental health nurse: ‘Legalising cannabis endorses unsafe drug’

A mental health nurse has called upon others in his profession to speak out about the serious damage cannabis causes to lives.

Peter Hurst, a registered mental health nurse for over ten years, said that legalising the substance merely “endorses and normalises the idea that the drug is safe, which it isn’t.”

He rejected the suggestion that cannabis is a “mild, harmless, benign” drug, and warned that if it is legalised “the worst affected will be those already living at the margins of society”.

Mental disorder

Hurst cited a study by The Lancet, which found that taking any strength of cannabis daily increases the chance of mental disorder.

Using strains with high levels of THC made users five times more likely to be affected.

The mental health nurse highlighted the drug’s association “with a number of serious side effects, including problems related to pregnancy”, “a significantly increased risk of youth suicide”, “impaired cognition/lowered IQ in adolescents” and “an increased risk of car crash injuries”.

He concluded: “The gap between public perceptions of psychiatry and what you actually see working on the wards and outside can be pretty big sometimes, but none more so when it comes to the issue of cannabis.”

‘No liberation’

Last month, a columnist for The Times also warned of the dangers of legalising cannabis.

Clare Foges said: “Liberals might have chosen the legalisation of cannabis as their next great crusade but encouraging more people to try this dangerous drug would be no liberation at all.”

The Government has repeatedly said that it “has no plans to decriminalise drug possession”.

In October, a Home Office spokesman said: “The decriminalisation of drug possession in the UK would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities.”