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Psychiatrists raise dagga concerns

Written by Zizo Zikali

Research has shown that 9% of individuals who experiment with cannabis will become addicted to it – this number increases when use starts during adolescence.

This is according to the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) in response to the recent legalisation of dagga for personal use. The group is concerned that there is a growing public perception that dagga is a harmless plant, and that few measures have been instituted to address this.

According to SASOP’s Dr Abdul Kader Domingo, it is estimated that one in six teenagers using cannabis will become addicted to it.  

Evidence

Domingo said that any change to the legislation regulating cannabis use should have been undertaken in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, be based on good quality scientific evidence and take into consideration the availability and accessibility of drug addiction prevention and treatment resources in South Africa.

He added that there was insufficient evidence to predict the long-term consequences of legalising dagga.

“The ease of accessing an intoxicating substance may have an underestimated impact on the initiation, frequency and amount of use, and the subsequent risk of developing a substance use disorder. Legalisation should therefore not have been considered at this point,” he argued. – Health-e News

About the author

Zizo Zikali

Zizo Zikali is our Eastern Cape based citizen journalist who also heads news at Inkonjane Community Radio in Flagstaff. Under her leadership, the news team is receiving recognition from local government and is the defending champion for Alfred Nzo District Municipality Annual Award for Best Innovative Current Affairs Programme. Zizo has over six years experience in community media and worked for organisations such as Voice of Tembisa FM from 2011-2014 and Inkonjane community Radio since 2014. Her educational qualifications include an Advanced Radio Certificate from University of the Witwatersrand obtained in 2016 and a Human Resources Management qualification from the Durban University of Technology obtained in 2008.