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by CanSS, posted 08 07 2018

Britain must beware legalising cannabis for medicinal use because of the risk of serious harm to young people, experts in the US have warned.

The fear is that it could allow widespread use of the drug, fuelling a rise in psychiatric illness among teenagers.

The stark warning by two Ivy League professors comes amid a growing campaign for the UK to change the law and follow in the footsteps of the US, where half of the states have legalised cannabis for medicinal use.

Speaking to MPs in Westminster, John Kelly, a psychologist at Harvard University specialising in addiction, spoke of his concern over growing evidence linking psychosis to cannabis. British studies show that regular cannabis can triple the risk of schizophrenia and the drug can also affect thinking and memory skills.

He also highlighted the dangers to small children. He said: We have seen increases in hospitalisation of little kids, often with accidental ingestion.' He added: Advocates for the industry said this would never happen.'

Challenging the notion that cannabis can be limited to therapeutic use, Stanford University psychiatrist Keith Humphreys said that in some American states, the medical regime is so loose it might as well be [full] legalisation'.

Their warnings, made to a recent parliamentary meeting, come as the Government takes advice on whether cannabis-related medicinal products should be reclassified so they can be more easily used in medicine.

There is broad support among MPs for such a limited change. However, there is growing concern that the pro-cannabis lobby is using emotional cases such as that of epileptic boy Billy Caldwell, 12, from Northern Ireland - who uses cannabis to control fits - as a Trojan Horse' argument for full legalisation.

Craig Mackinlay, Tory MP for South Thanet in Kent, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on cannabis, said: Far too few people are aware that, especially in young people, cannabis can cause devastating and permanent mental damage, including schizophrenia.'

© Mail On Sunday



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