Sun | May 28, 2017

No increase in ganja-related psychosis among children, says UHWI

Published:Tuesday | June 16, 2015 | 6:16 PM

One of the country’s main medical facilities which treat psychiatric cases says it has not seen any increase in the number of children seeking treatment for mental health problems arising from the decriminalisation of ganja.

Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Dr Wendel Abel, says the hospital has not recorded any such case.

His comments are in response to a report today from prominent psychiatrist, Dr Winston De La Haye, who has indicated that he has seen an alarming increase in the number of children with psychotic episodes arising from ganja use connected to decriminalisation of ganja.

Abel, one of the country’s leading psychiatrists, says while he cannot speak to the experience being seen by doctors in private practice, the psychiatry ward at the hospital has not seen any increase in cases.

The well-known psychiatrist agrees that ganja use at an early age may have negative consequences, especially among young people who are predisposed to hereditary mental health issues.

Abel says studies have shown that persons 25-year-old and under who use ganja are at greater risk.

He says using ganja at an early age can cause cognitive and intellectual problems.

 

Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr. Wendel Abel

Noting that he supports the decriminalisation of ganja, Abel says immediate effort should be made to put in place the necessary regulations so as to protect vulnerable groups such as children from abusing the drug.

Abel was speaking on Cliff Hughes Online on Power 106 FM this morning.