High Court Blunders into Dagga Minefield

Media Release

Embargo: Immediate release
Date : 03 April 2017
Enquiries: Doctors For Life Int.
Telephone: 032 4815550/5807

Doctors For Life International (DFL) is deeply concerned by the judgment of the Western Cape High Court that allows, subject to legislation to be passed in the next 24 months, the private growing and use of Cannabis Sativa.  The court has rushed into an area they should only tread into after reviewing systematic, evidence-based research. This, the Pretoria High Court was set to do in August of 2017.

What people do with Cannabis in the privacy of their homes is relevant to the whole of society. Firstly because of the semi-long-term effects of Cannabis that last up to 21 days after ingestion. These include poor coordination and slowed reaction time etc. which can lead to fatal traffic and work place accidents.

Secondly, the decision has disastrous consequences for the youth. It will be virtually impossible to prevent children from being exposed to the smoking of cannabis and its detrimental health consequences such as impaired verbal IQ, memory, reduced decision making and an increased prevalence of psychosis later in life. The drop in IQ has been thoroughly researched: IQ drop was demonstrated if used and quit before 18 years of age. IQ drop is highest when used before age 18 and still addicted at age 38. IQ drop is associated with the length of time addiction.

During the teenage years the brain is especially vulnerable because it prunes unneeded connections, grows in size, wires cortical dopamine circuits, strengthens connections and reorganizes brain function as a whole. Furthermore, the US state of Colorado’s experience clearly shows an increase in emergency admissions to hospitals due to small children ingesting cannabis by mistake due to the reckless behaviour of parents.

There is no doubt that any cultivation of Cannabis Sativa, even for research purposes, can have serious public health consequences and that it should be properly regulated by legislation.

Doctors for Life International represents 1531 medical doctors and specialists of which three-quarters practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. For more information visit: http://www.doctorsforlife.co.za

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