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Cannabis: Young People

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the particular risks to teenage boys associated with smoking cannabis. (200001)

In July 2007 the peer-reviewed results of a Department commissioned systematic review of studies into the mental health harms of cannabis use were published in The Lancet, volume 370, Issue 9584, 28 July 2007, Pages 319-328, titled ‘Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review'.

Reducing the harms caused by smoking cannabis is one of the priorities in the Government's new drug Strategy Drugs: Protecting families and communities. The 2008 Drug Strategy. Steps have already been taken, through the FRANK campaign, to ensure that young people understand the risks and dangers of cannabis. Copies of the Strategy are available in the Library.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) keeps the evidence available on the harms of cannabis and other drugs under review. In July 2007 the ACMD were asked by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to reassess the medical and social scientific basis of the classification of cannabis in the light of ‘real public concern about the potential mental health effects of cannabis use’.

The ACMD sent their report, outlining its recommendations for cannabis classification, to the Home Secretary on 28 April 2008. The ACMD have looked in detail at the latest evidence on the health harms of cannabis, including the risks to young people, and their report sets out their assessment and recommendations.