College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 24 January 2019
Family First Comment: Cannabis is the main drug responsible for patients being seen within the child and adolescent addiction service, accounting for 80% of all cases. “Modern weed is grown in such a way as to maximise the THC concentration and as a consequence it seems to minimise the amount of CBD in it, so the chemical make-up is completely different to what was around 10 to 15 years ago,” Dr Smyth maintained.
More than 40,000 Irish people are addicted to cannabis in Ireland yet societal attitudes towards the drug are softening. Around a decade ago, cannabis would have been the main drug in just 30 per cent of presentations, according to Dr Bobby Smyth, a child and adolescent psychiatrist specialising in addiction in Dublin.
Cannabis is the main drug responsible for patients being seen within the child and adolescent addiction service, accounting for 80 per cent of all cases.
Between 2006 and 2009 cannabis referrals related to hash and tended to cause “low level concerns”. “Objectively, their lives weren’t massively affected by their drug use,” Dr Smyth told the Medical Independent. But this began to change over subsequent years as the chemical make-up of the drug altered to become more addictive and harmful.
“We began meeting young people whose lives were consumed by the use of cannabis. It moved from hash to what would generally be known as weed; ‘herbal cannabis’ would be the medical term,” Dr Smyth related. “They were reporting quantities of use and a pervasiveness of use that seemed completely different to previously.”
The departure of hash and the arrival of weed has meant “we are dealing with a completely different drug”, Dr Smyth said. The chemical constituents of hash and weed are broadly similar, but the two key cannabinoids that doctors pay attention to are known as THC and CBD, Dr Smyth explained.
THC is the cannabinoid that causes the negative intoxication, addictive and paranoid effects, while CBD can potentially offer medicinal value for people with epilepsy, for example.
READ MORE: https://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/blog/a-warning-on-the-failure-to-take-cannabis-use-seriously/