"By LILLIAN RADULOVA FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
PUBLISHED: 14:16, 6 October 2014 | UPDATED: 22:01, 6 October 2014
Staggering 85% of Australians believe marijuana SHOULD be legalised as top psychologist warns 14-year-olds are more likely to smoke cannabis than tobacco
- 85 per cent of more than 50,000 Australians said that they support the legalisation of marijuana
- Cannabis researcher and psychologist Dr. Matthew Large, said there is no good reason for the drug not to be approved for medical use
- He said legalising cannabis for recreational use could mean users would be better informed of the health side-effects due to government regulation
- Former police officer Damon Adams has been using cannabis for pain relief after a knee operation which left him with no cartilage at the joint
- Mr Adams said that the pain limited his daily life
More than 85 per cent of the 50,000 Australians surveyed in a recent poll, believe that marijuana should be legalised across the country.
Conducted by SBS's Insight team, the poll reflects the current ongoing public debate which has seen federal politicians consider a medical trial.
As public opinion tips in favour of legalising the drug, a variety of voices have come forward to have their say on the positives of cannabis use, from mothers and former policemen to psychologists.
A national poll of over 50,000 people conducted by SBS has found that over 85 per cent of Australians believe marijuana should be legalised - copyright SBS
Cannabis researcher, Dr. Matthew Large from the University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry, told Daily Mail Australia that despite research showing the ill effects of the drug, he supports the movement to legalise it.
'My view is, with respect to medical cannabis, that there are no strong arguments against it,' Dr Large said.
'We have other drugs that are illegal that can be prescribed including opiate drugs, the illegal version of which is heroin and legal version morphine. There are also stimulant drugs that we use in the treatment of ADHD and sleep disorders that are illegal and so I can't see that there's a particular issue with cannabis.
'There are several not particularly common conditions for which cannabis is a good second line treatment for when the first line doesn't work: muscular spasticity in multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain disorders and conditions in relation to people who have terminal conditions or difficulty eating.'
However, the Sydney psychiatrist noted that 'there is no doubt that cannabis is a dangerous drug'.
Cannabis researcher and psychologist Matthew Large supports the legalisation of medical marijuana as well as for recreational purposes as long as there is strong government regulation in place
Dr Large also acknowledged the health risks the drug presents for people with a predisposition for mental illness as well as teenagers, but said he believes government regulation will lead to a better educated public who are well informed enough to make decisions
Dr Large said that studies have shown that cannabis smokers who develop schizophrenia, do so about three years earlier than people with schizophrenia who don't use the drug. It also leads to a 'severer and more irreversible' form of the illness.
Furthermore, he revealed that the drug is particularly harmful for people under the age of 16 who have a higher chance of educational failure and, in the long term, are more likely to suffer cognitive impairment and have a significant loss of IQ by the age of 50 if they use cannabis.
'What I would personally support would be if marijuana was legalised and carefully regulated in much the same way as tobacco, but not in the same way as alcohol,' Dr Large said.
'We have a drug that is illegal but widely used and about which the general populace has little information about and no way of making informed decisions about.
Former police officer Damon Adams has been using cannabis for pain relief after a knee operation which left him with no cartilage at the joint. He was originally prescribed opiates but swapped to marijuana due to the severe side affects
'In Australia at the moment, 14-year-olds are more likely to smoke cannabis than tobacco and that's because we have been putting out all these health warnings and information campaigns.'
Former South Australian police officer, Damon Adams, has been using cannabis as a form of pain relief following a knee operation which left him with no cartilage at the joint.
Mr Adams was first prescribed with opiates after the surgery, but the former Australian Navy member told Daily Mail Australia that 'opiates and my body weren't a good combination'.
He soon found himself taking a number of anti-histamines to counter the side effects of the opiates, which included night sweats and constant itching.
The final results of the national poll conducted by SBS Insight, which prompted voters with an interactive billboard in Sydney and Melbourne's CBD, will be revealed on Tuesday night at 8:30pm
'It was instant relief,' Mr Adams said of the first time he resorted to cannabis instead of opiates. 'The pain was always there but cannabis gave me the ability to be able to move on and keep doing things. I had better sleep and wasn't sweating anymore – I was just healthier.'
Like Dr Large, Mr Adams would like to see marijuana legalised for recreational use, as long as the government puts forward effective regulation.
The final results of the national poll conducted by SBS Insight, which prompted voters through an interactive billboard placed in Sydney and Melbourne's CBD, will be revealed on Tuesday night at 8:30pm when Insight explores the use of medical marijuana.
The billboard featured synthetic marijuana plants that 'grew' or 'died' depending on the results, according to SBS.
You can vote on whether you think marijuana should be legalised at http://www.sbs.com.au/insight.
85% of Australians believe marijuana SHOULD be legalised
1 post • Page 1 of 1
- Posts: 439
- Joined: Fri 31st Jan 2014 08:39 pm
- Location: On my cloud, where else?
1 post • Page 1 of 1