Should cannabis be decriminalised? Parents and health services staff are becoming highly concerned at the increasing numbers of users of synthetic cannaboids. Read the excerpt from a recent report below:
“The speed at which people are becoming addicted to synthetic drugs has shocked alcohol and drug services, who say people are becoming hooked on “legal highs” in a matter of weeks or months.
MidCentral District Health Board‘s Alcohol and Other Drug Service’s Ann Flintoff said they first saw an increase in the number of patients in November and December, shortly after 28 synthetic cannabinoids were banned.
At that time, they saw three or four people a week.
Seventeen people had been seen by the service in the past month, and there was a steady flow before that, she said.
Most patients were in their 20s, but there were some in their 40s.
Flintoff said people had been “badly served” by the names of synthetic cannabis products, the “legals”, and there was a lot of concern from parents and family doctors concerned about people acting out of character or agitated.
Dr Sarz Maxwell said symptoms varied, “intoxication” stages appeared similar to cannabis, but people in withdrawal quickly developed a physiological dependence, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating.
“One guy said he sweated through the mattress, dripping onto the floor. I saw a guy with his hand [on the table] and I saw a stream of sweat, not dripping, coming off his hand.” Psychologically, the effects were much worse,” she said, including agitation, rage attacks, severe paranoia, and cravings.”