A former government advisor on drug policy has said that the UK has created the “monster” of high-potency cannabis “by obsessing over the harms” of the drug.
This comes after a major study found that smoking potent forms of cannabis – also known as skunk - greatly increases the risk of serious mental illness.
Professor David Nutt told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “We created the monster of skunk by obsessing over the harms of traditional herbal cannabis.
“We know that the policy should be to minimise people using high-strength, potent drugs and our policies have driven them in that direction.”
Professor Nutt suggested that cannabis is one of the easiest drugs to stop coming into the UK because “it is big, bulky, and it smells”.
He added that this had forced people to “grow their own”, which is often highly potent.
Taking any version of the drug daily was found by the Kings College London study to triple the chances of developing psychosis.
But using high-potency cannabis containing high levels of the active ingredient THC raised the risk five-fold.
Professor Sir Robin Murray, who worked on the study, told Matthew that legalisation would not necessarily make people safer.
“The highest potency is in Holland where it is much more freely available than it is in the UK,” he said.
“I think it is possible to legalise and not have more potent cannabis or more consumption but no one has done it so far.”