Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Anti-ganja laws unfair, prejudicial - psychiatrist

Published:Monday | August 11, 2014 | 5:30 PM

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Prominent consultant psychiatrist and university professor, Wendel Abel, has labelled Jamaica’s anti-ganja laws as unfair, prejudicial and draconian.

Joining the debate on the decriminalisation of ganja, Professor Abel said the matter is a legal issue and not a medical one.

He says over the course of Jamaica’s history there has been no evidence that anti ganja laws have helped to reduce the use of the drug among Jamaicans.

Professor Abel, who is also the Chairman of the National Council on Drug Abuse, disagrees with the position of some members of the medical fraternity who believe that using ganja will have a deleterious effect on individuals.

He says he also rejects assertions that ganja smoking leads to other the use of other substances like cocaine.

According to the professor, there is no conclusive evidence that using ganja will result in mental health issues.

He says where someone has a family history of mental health issues, such an individual may experience challenges when using marijuana and where someone already suffers from a mental illness, using ganja may compound the problem.

Meanwhile, professor Abel says data has shown that using ganja before the age of 15 years can result in cognitive challenges such as memory problems.

That’s why he says any move towards the decriminalisation of ganja must be supported by strong regulations and public education.

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

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