Walk on to any mental health ward as I have and you will be confronted with the tragic victims of our lackadaisical attitude towards cannabis.

There is mounting evidence to show the drug is having a horrific effect on the young, not least the Mail’s disturbing story today. A third of psychosis cases in London are the result of smoking skunk, according to research. Another study by Oxford University showed it increases the risk of depression in teenagers by 40 per cent.

They join the hundreds of other studies which show that, far from being the harmless substance campaigners would have us believe, cannabis is a dangerous, damaging intoxicant that has a profound effect on the structure and function of the brain.

Cannabis is particularly dangerous to the developing brains of young people and yet this group is the most likely to experiment with the drug. It has been proved beyond doubt that cannabis use is associated with depression, anxiety, psychosis and avolition, or poor motivation.

It is a bitter irony that, just as we as a society are becoming more understanding about mental illness and showing greater concern and awareness, a drug which is directly responsible for destroying people’s mental health is being allowed to become so widespread. Particularly frustrating are the smug, ageing, liberal types who smoked the drug through the 60s, 70s and 80s and claim that, because they’re still here, it must be fine. They fail to realise that not only did plenty of people not make it through the 60s and 70s unscathed, but also that the super-strong skunk cannabis on the streets today is entirely different to what it was 15, let alone 30, years ago.

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