Mental Health

03.07.19

NHS opens up UK’s first ever cannabis treatment clinic

The NHS has responded to soaring levels of cannabis-induced psychosis by opening the country’s first ever cannabis treatment clinic.

The clinic is being set up in Lambeth, south London, by academics whose research found links between mental health problems and a readily available, super-strength strain of cannabis known colloquially as ‘skunk’.

Consultant adult psychiatrist and lecturer at King’s College London, Dr Marta Di Forti, is running a pilot 12-month trial with 20 patients.

Dr Di Forti called cannabis-induced psychosis a “crisis” which cannot be ignored, affecting tens of thousands of people.

READ MORE: Centre for Medicinal Cannabis survey finds six million adults used CBD in UK

READ MORE: Cannabis on trial

The clinic will treat users of the drug who have experienced their first episode of psychosis through a three-month programme which aims to wean users off the substance. Hallucinations often occur as a result of psychosis and the condition can also lead to paranoia and cause patients to become distressed.

Dr Di Forti said: ““‘It became ridiculous how many psychosis patients were also cannabis smokers.

“It got to the point where two-thirds of my psychosis patients had a history of cannabis use.”

Approximately a quarter of people presenting with their first episode of psychosis to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, where the clinic will be running, would not have developed psychosis had they not used high-potency cannabis.

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