Cannabis consumption impacts society negatively – Medical experts

Medical experts have warned against the consumption of cannabis sativa, popularly known as weed or Indian hemp, stressing that it has adverse health, social and economic implications on consumers and the society in general.

They gave the advice during a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria in the South-South.

Consultant Neuropsychiatric and Head of Department, Mental Health, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Professor Donald Chukwujekwu, said continued intake of cannabis could lead to negative vices and retard the development of a nation.

He noted that the substance can alter sense of judgement and lead to crimes that include kidnapping, robbery, rape, among others.

He said the physical effect of the cannabis sativa include mood distortion, redness of the eye, dry mouth, increased heartbeat, irritation of the respiratory tract and cough.

The Consultant Neuropsychiatric highlighted others to include irritability, lack of concentration, disorganisation of the body system and sleeplessness.

Prof. Chukwujekwu said consumption of cannabis sativa is addictive as continued intake would require the person to increase the quantity to be able to achieve the effect that it gave at the beginning.

He added, ‘’Talking about society, if people who are to make decisions are under the influence of cannabis sativa, they may make wrong decisions.”

He, however, advised the youths to avoid psychoactive substances, especially Indian hemp and methamphetamine, to be able to achieve a lot in life.

Similarly, the State Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Edo Command, Mr. Buba Wakawa, said consumption of Indian hemp has adverse impact on youth education and causes family crises.

He said, “For some perceivable reasons, substance abuse can lead to unemployment crisis. This would in turn lead to more problems for the society. It can also cause crisis in the nuclear family, where the breadwinner expends his income on substance abuse and the resultant threat to the society would be unimaginable.

“Again, people who abuse substances are likely to have mental health challenges and such persons cannot hold sensitive posts either in government or in private outfits.”

Wakawa said those addicted to illicit substances constitute a great threat to the society, as it could lead to anti-social behaviours like cultism, gangsterism, unemotional killings, robbery, among others.

A Laboratory Scientist, Professor Charles Okiemen, said repeated cannabis sativa use had been associated with short and long term adverse effects.

Okiemen said some of the effects include respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, cognitive alterations, psychosis, schizophrenia and mood disorders.

He, however, noted that in spite of the negative effect of substance abuse, recent research had proposed promising therapeutic potential of cannabinoi-based drugs for some medical conditions.

Meanwhile, the Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr. Abidemi Majekodunmi, said it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to eradicate the menace of cannabis sativa.

Majekodunmi said such collaboration among stakeholders was necessary to safeguard the future of Nigeria.

According to him, since the youth constitute a substantial proportion of the Nigerian population and are at the centre of consumption of cannabis sativa, there is need for all hands to be on deck to eradicate the menace.

He further noted that consumption of Indian hemp and other hard drugs has a direct correlation to crimes in society.

“Drug consumption influences crime and because drug addicts have to ‘refuel,’ they commit crimes to get money.

“We do know that drug consumption and crimes, such as cultism are linked together. So, when we make arrests, we hand the suspects over to the NDLEA.

“This is one battle that the society must win if we want to safeguard the future of the Nigerian state,” he said.




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