NHS Opens first dedicated Cannabis Psychosis Clinic.
With legalisation of Cannabis in the UK being discussed, the NHS has opened its first Cannabis Psychosis Clinic in London as demand hits all time highs.
Cannabis-induced psychosis has reached crisis levels, forcing the NHS to open the first clinic specifically treating addicts of the mind-altering drug.
The clinic has been launched by a leading psychiatrist who warns that psychosis among users of skunk – a very strong strain of cannabis flooding the streets – has become ‘a crisis that we can simply no longer ignore’, with tens of thousands of people affected.
Dr Marta Di Forti, one of the principal doctors at the clinic, based at the South London and Maudsley NHS foundation said: ‘This is a crisis of high potency cannabis that we can simply no longer ignore. ‘This clinic is now responding to that crisis.
The consultant adult psychiatrist and lecturer at King’s College London, said she decided to launch the clinic after being overwhelmed by the number of psychosis patients with a history of cannabis use.
‘It became ridiculous how many psychosis patients were also cannabis smokers,’ she said.
‘It got to the point where two-thirds of my psychosis patients had a history of cannabis use.’
Dr Di Forti warned against following the lead of Canada and the US states of California and Colorado, where legalisation has seen usage increase.
‘My concern is that there is no way you can legalise recreational cannabis without cannabis use going up, as has happened in America, and there is a potential for a lot of people to come to harm,’ she said.
‘You therefore need resources to help those people and you also need education to teach people about the dangers.’
Consultants at Dr Di Forti’s clinic – The Cannabis Clinic For Patients With Psychosis – include Professor Sir Robin Murray, the first British academic to prove a link between cannabis and psychosis, and Professor Ann McNeill, the UK’s leading smoking and tobacco expert.
The clinic, which is funded by the Maudsley Charity, opened earlier this month.
Treatment comprises a mix of anti-psychotic medication, sessions with therapists, and motivational meetings to wean patients off cannabis.
Dr Di Forti said: ‘The problem has been that while you’re trying to do all these things to help patients with their psychotic episodes, they are smoking from half-an-hour after they wake up until just before they go to bed, so they’re basically stoned all the time.
‘Trying to reintegrate them by getting them to join a local football team or do an art class is very difficult. Often they will be so stoned that they will have no motivation to address their psychosis. That is something we have to work through.’