Cannabis Use Statistics
Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.K; however, the number of users is falling year on year. Cannabis is most commonly used by young people, with research carried out by the NHS indicating that 17% of secondary school children thought it was acceptable to try cannabis and 27% of 15 year olds admitting that they had used cannabis.
Effects of Cannabis Use
Most often associated with producing a state of numb relaxation, many users overlook the long-term health and social implications of taking cannabis. While short term effects can include hazy vision, being talkative and giggly and feeling nauseous, repeated cannabis use can lead to paranoia, anxiety, agitation and an increased risk of developing serious mental conditions such as schizophrenia in the future. Research by British academics suggests cannabis users are 40% more likely to develop a psychotic illness than those who do not use the drug.
Despite many underestimating the dangers of cannabis addiction, the British Government is taking the problem very seriously. Since stronger penalties for both possession and dealing were enforced when the drug was re-classified as a Class B drug, the rate of cannabis use has fallen and it is thought that continued strong measures will further reduce the incidence of cannabis use. Advertising targeting young people, such as FRANK’s television campaign as well as educational initiatives such as PSHE lessons in schools, aim to raise awareness of the issues and dangers related to cannabis use.
Cannabis and Young People
One of the most common concerns related to cannabis use is the routine it implies for users. For many people, the effects of smoking cannabis mean that whole days are spent doing very little and increased paranoia and anxiety can make cannabis users very difficult to be around. Cannabis addiction can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which makes it harder to give up. Cannabis use is common amongst unemployed people and young people who have left school and are not in further education or training who may feel they have nothing better to do. Initiatives enforced by the Government aiming to get young people into employment or further education have been proven to reduce the rate of cannabis use amongst young people and more money is being put into similar community projects in the hope of further reducing the number of people resorting to cannabis use.
Help and Advice
The NHS offers help and support with cannabis dependency; counselling and psychotherapy programmes can be arranged through your GP. In addition, charities such as Narcotics Anonymous provide an entirely confidential, anonymous advice service and can be contacted 24 hours a day. FRANK’s Talk to Frank helpline is also open 24 hours a day and offers free help and guidance to those dependent on drugs.