The word "misuse" means to use for a purpose other than for which it is intended.
I put it to you that most if not all people that consume cannabis do so with the intention that it makes them feel better - that is an intended use, irrespective of law. It also includes a high number of people that use it with the intention of it easing pain, spasms, insomnia, loss of appetite and many of things; and they report, in very many cases, psoitively.
Like most beneficial and medicinal substances, those that find relief and especially those that have not found it in pharmaceutical drugs, continue to use it for that very reason:
their use does not become abuse, just like for people who use pharmaceutical products may continue to do so, often for the rest of their lives, because they are prescribed and because they want to feel better - whether or not the drugs work - do not change from "users" to "abusers."
If dagga becomes legal to grow, possess or even buy and sell, it must be remembered that the law is about people, not drugs. If the law is meant to protect people then cannabis consuers deserve the same level of protection as people get when they buy other commodities (quality, cleanliness, packaging, safety) and that is only possible if the activities are within the law.
Is the law meant to protect us or simply try to control our choices? Should it punish people who make the wrong choices, even if they do no harm?
Of, course on the other hand, if the law is meant to try to deter people from growing or uisng cannabis and force them to depend on pharmaceutical drugs, risk exposing them to criminal drug suppliers, limit their social consumption to alcohol, and keep criminal profits beyoind the reach of the taxman, then keep the law as it is.
Dagga legalisation ‘could lead to long-term abuse’
Research has shown that use among teens younger than 18 impacts higher brain function.This will make the country the first in Africa to downgrade cannabis from a Schedule 7 banned substance to a Schedule 6 prescription drug, Springs Advertiser reports.
Dr Shaquir Salduker, board member of the Psychiatry Management Group says he believes the proposed legislation requires review and thorough research, which to date has not been done.
“Easing the laws to allow medical research and discovery is a good idea, but releasing it for general consumption opens the door to possible abuse,” he says.
He adds that a report released in 2013 by the SA Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use suggests that one in 10 people in SA have an addiction problem involving cannabis and alcohol, the most commonly abused drugs.
“Although there are some studies indicating cannabis is as effective as existing painkillers and does have some effect on nausea, appetite stimulation, anxiety and seizures, there are to date no landmark studies into its role in pain management that would make it a revolutionary agent in pain control.
“The trends in the countries that have legalised (cannabis) have led to fraudulent prescriptions and ultimately become an epidemic of abuse, especially among those younger than 18.”
Salduker points out that there are potentially many benefits that will arise from cannabis research, but there has to be a clear message put out that it’s not the same as the substance that is being smoked, eaten, vaporised or brewed in teas.
“The danger is that if it’s being used medicinally, we have no idea of what dose is being administered and what the potential side-effects are.”
Changes can occur in:
• blood pressure,
• pulse rate,
• extreme anxiety, and
• panic attacks, to name but a few.
“There seems to be a belief that if the oil is used, it’s medicinal as compared to smoking the weed.
“We also don’t know much about its interactions with chronic medications, so until it hasn’t been properly researched, sub-types isolated, cleaned up and safety assured, it cannot be handed out willy-nilly and promoted as a ‘naturalistic or homeopathic’ treatment,” Salduker says.
He adds that excessive use of cannabis has dire consequences not only in terms of developing schizophrenia-like illnesses, which may require lifelong treatment of the disorder, but can also lead to the deterioration of existing mental disorders.
“Cannabis can provoke relapses in bipolar disorder and can cause chronic amotivational syndrome in long-term users.
“Research has shown that use among teens younger than 18 impacts higher brain function called cognition, which is essentially learning, memory, concentration and intellectual development, as well as motivation.
“I fear that if the misperception gets entrenched, we are going to possibly have an entire generation of ‘brain damaged’ adults before the penny drops.”
Salduker says cannabis is a common form of self-medication, like alcohol and codeine.
Due to its temporary effect on anxiety and sense of mood elevation, it can become quite habit-forming for patients suffering from mental illnesses.
“The historic pattern has been that youngsters start with alcohol and then cannabis and as time goes on they lose the meaning of ‘banned substance’ or ‘illegal’ and start to see all drugs as ‘having some good’, which can lead them to harder and life-destructive drugs,” Salduker concludes.
A Springs Advertiser reader had this to say: “All of a sudden so many young people are going to be ‘sick’.”
– Caxton News Service