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Public Health Service 'ill-equipped' to provide treatment for cannabis users despite surge in numbers seeking help

Posted on 28 June 2016

Researchers argue that the lack of available treatment and understanding around cannabis dependency is a major public health concern, with users often being ignored

Ian Hamilton, lecturer in Mental Health, recently contributed to a news piece in The Independent following a successful conference on effective treatments for cannabis users held in York.

Health experts have warned that the public health care system is unprepared and ill-equipped to provide help for cannabis users, despite a rapid increase in the number of people seeking treatment for problems relating to the drug.

Researchers gathering at a conference at the University of York highlighted the discovery of “concerning, unexpected” new symptoms reported by intensive users of cannabis and synthetic alternatives, including agitation and impulse control problems, contradicting the perception of cannabis as a suppressive drug.

One new study presented to the group demonstrated that while the use of cannabis has fallen in recent years, those smaller numbers of people are using the drug more intensively, with 73 per cent of all cannabis consumed by 9 per cent of users.

“We’re effectively seeing a surge of people presenting for treatment but centres are not sure what to do wth them,” explained Ian Hamilton, a member of the research group. “It’s like going in for heart surgery but finding the doctors don’t have the necessary equipment to do it.”