Cannabis laws not helping – health workers

By September 1, 2013 Recent News

Otago Daily Times 1 September 2013
The legal status of cannabis puts a ”massive block” between client and clinician, Pact mental health clinical leader Matthew Peppercorn told a cannabis public forum at Dunedin Hospital.

Clients feared getting in trouble if they discussed cannabis, eliminating opportunities to minimise harm from its use.

There were some people who should never use it, he said.

Mr Peppercorn believed it was a ”travesty” synthetic cannabis products would be approved and regulated under the Psychoactive Substances Act, instead of using the natural version as safely as possible.

The new regime seemed like a big money-making venture.

High-profile media coverage created ”shenanigans” around K2 and other products, which only made people want to try them, he said.

Community Alcohol and Drug Service medical director Dr Gavin Cape, who favoured cannabis law reform, said like many things in life, it had a harmful and addictive side.

Those with a family history of mental illness should be wary of using it, as should adolescents. Smoking it posed respiratory and cardiovascular risks, he said.