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The Royal College of Psychiatrists review of medicinal and recreational cannabis

Purple Cannabis plant

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has undertaken a review to develop a College position on cannabis use in the UK and how this relates to mental health, incorporating evidence on the biological, psychological and social effects of cannabis, and the use of medicinal cannabis in relation to mental illness. The review invited comment from experts in the field, and submissions from the general public on the criteria listed below. You can read Drug Science’s submission here

Recreational cannabis

  1. The prevalence and strength of cannabis used in the UK;

  2. What effects cannabis use has directly on the likelihood of people developing mental illness;

  3. Criminalisation and marginalisation of cannabis users in the UK and the effects this has on people’s mental health;

  4. Synthetic cannabis;

  5. Why people start to smoke cannabis, where this leads them and why they continue or why they stop;

  6. Effects of changes in services in the UK;

  7. Global evidence of effects of different legal approaches;

  8. Reducing mental health harms of cannabis use;

  9. Priorities for research.

Medicinal cannabis

  1. Medicinal cannabis used to treat mental illness;

  2. Guidance for clinicians prescribing medicinal cannabis;

  3. Research needed on medicinal cannabis used to treat mental illness and the barriers to this research;

  4. Any links between the prescription of medicinal cannabis and the prevalence of recreational use;

  5. Pathways in and out of cannabis for medicinal use.

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