Cannabis abuse on rise in Kashmir

Dr Arshid Hussain, Associate Professor Psychiatry said, “It is alarming that a huge number of patients admitted at PDH with aggressive behaviour have been found to be abusing cannabis.”

Zehru Nissa
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 1 2015 11:31PM | Updated Date: Jun 1 2015 11:32PM
Cannabis abuse on rise in KashmirRepresentational Photo

Cannabis abuse across Kashmir has touched an alarming level and most patients being treated in Srinagar hospitals are Cannabis addicts. 

According to data maintained by De-addiction Centre at SMHS Hospital, 71 percent of people being treated for substance abuse are using multiple drugs, of which cannabis is the most commonly abused.

The Psychiatric Diseases Hospital (PDH) Srinagar has also witnessed the same trend. Dr. Maqbool Ahmed Dar, HoD PDH said, “We are witnessing a tremendous increase in the abuse of cannabis in the state. And there is not much noise that is being made about it.”

Dr Arshid Hussain, Associate Professor Psychiatry said, “It is alarming that a huge number of patients admitted at PDH with aggressive behaviour have been found to be abusing cannabis.”

YOUNG AND ‘WEED’ SUPPORT

“It starts with a puff or two for fun. These people use it to get into some world of fantasy. But this drug is highly addictive, they simply lose touch with reality,” Dr Hussain said. He stated that although there is not much literature available on the topic but the team at SMHS Hospital De-Addiction Center has seen ‘a strong link between psychosis and cannabis abuse’.

Experts believe that there is a need for intensive and in-depth research into the reasons for surge in cannabis use in Kashmir. There is a growing support and lobbying for marijuana (cannabis derivative) worldwide and doctors believe that this is encouraging the young generation to ‘try’ it.

Stakeholders are alarmed at the fact that young people in their productive years are succumbing to substance abuse. The data at SMHS Hospital vetted the fact as it revealed that 86 percent patients being treated for substance abuse were less than 35 years old.

HIDDEN FACTS

Last week, researchers from Northwestern University, USA, found a link between cannabis use and long-term memory loss. The study says, ‘young adults who abused cannabis as teens performed about 18 per cent worse on long-term memory tests than young adults who never abused cannabis.’ The research also found brain abnormalities and memory problems presenting in the individuals' in their early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking Marijuana. 

There is also a growing evidence of link between marijuana and lung cancer. “Cannabis is usually smoked. Though we talk a lot about smoking and lung cancer, somehow, this link is being missed in our messages,” a doctor said.

A mental health expert said, “They are befooling kids out there. They need to be made understand that cannabis wreaks havoc with mental health also unlike other drugs, which usually have more of physical effects. And the authorities are letting it happen under their very nose.”

Tip Of Ice Berg 

Doctors believe that the patients coming to De-Addiction Centers is just ‘tip of the ice-berg’.

A majority of these patients were from Srinagar and its adjoining areas. More than 60 percent of the patients hail from Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. Experts point out that this huge influx of patients from Srinagar and its peripheral districts does not indicate that the gravity of the problem is more in these areas but rather regards the question of access.