Unspoken risks of cannabis useThe Irish Times 20 May 2019Sir, – There is currently a great deal of one-sided discussion about cannabis. This discussion has been driven by two separate debates. First, there is the argument in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal use. Second, there is the argument criticising the use of criminal sanctions to deter people from using cannabis.Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned. However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.We are extremely concerned about the increasing health-related problems caused by cannabis across Ireland. There are several reasons for our concern.Cannabis use, especially in adolescent years, is associated with increased risk of development of severe mental disorders particularly psychosis.There is growing scientific data that indicates that cannabis use in young people is related to impairments to memory and thinking, which can endure long after cannabis use has ceased.Cannabis is now the most common drug involved in new treatment episodes at addiction services nationally.Cannabis is also the most common substance involved in drug-related admissions to our psychiatric hospitals.Cannabis smoke contains the same cocktails of carcinogens and toxins as tobacco smoke and therefore it must be assumed that it brings with it all the medical risks associated with smoking cigarettes.In our view there has been a gross failure to communicate to the people of Ireland these harms which are being caused by cannabis. Responsibility for this failure lies partly with the medical profession but also with the Department of Health and the HSE.We are also concerned that these debates have been influenced by those with a legalisation agenda. We recognise that there is a difference between decriminalisation and legalisation, but it worries us that many TDs seem unaware of these distinctions.While there is limited evidence that some products containing cannabinoids have medical benefit in a very small number of conditions, this has, in our view, been grossly distorted to imply that the cannabis plant in its entirety can be considered a “medicine”. Decriminalisation and “medical cannabis” campaigns have proven to be effective “Trojan horse” strategies on the road to full legalisation and commercialisation elsewhere such as the United States and Canada.Both debates have provided an effective platform for the spreading of misinformation to the public, who are being kept in the dark regarding the harmful side to “weed”. Those harmful effects are magnified now with the prevalence of a much more potent form of cannabis than the form which was common in the 1980s and 1990s. There is evidence that cannabis use has increased in the context of this propaganda campaign and the proportion of people in Ireland who see it as harmless has doubled from 10.1 per cent (2011) to 19.5 per cent (2015).The medical bodies in Canada finally spoke up regarding their concerns about cannabis policy on the eve of its recent legalisation in that country, but that was too late for the youth of Canada. We are determined not to make the same mistake in Ireland.We are calling for an urgent and unbiased examination of the evidence about cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms in Ireland and a comprehensive public education campaign. We hope that we can work with the Department of Health and the HSE to address this “ignored” crisis and minimise further harm to the youth of Ireland. – Yours, etc,https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/unspoken-risks-of-cannabis-use-1.3896017Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.
Remi Garde has revealed Jack Grealish will return to training with Aston Villa’s first team this week, and the manager will then focus on preparing to face Arsenal, the Frenchman’s former club. “Jack Grealish will play with the reserve team on Monday and will probably join the group after that,” said Garde, whose previous experience of English football came at Villa’s next visitors, Arsenal, where he was a player in the 1990s. “It’s a very good feeling (to face Arsenal again). But my personal feelings are not very important. “Of course I have very good memories and a strong relationship with this English football club but I know that it is a very good side and they will come to Villa Park to win the game. “For us it will be very tough but I expect my players to be like they were (in the 0-0 draw with Manchester) City.” Southampton’s improved performance, following Wednesday’s 6-1 Capital One Cup defeat by Liverpool on Wednesday, came with the return of captain Jose Fonte from injury. The central defender almost gave his team the lead before Joleon Lescott scored on the stroke of half-time to put Villa in front. Substitute Oriol Romeu secured the equalising goal from a similar position to Lescott in the 73rd minute, ending Southampton’s run of three straight defeats. But though greater conviction in the final third would have given his team victory, Fonte denied suggestions they are lacking in confidence. “If you are Aston Villa (who remain bottom of the Premier League) you’d be struggling for confidence,” he said. “We’re in a good position still. Of course we want to be higher up the table but I wouldn’t say there’s a lack of confidence. “We have confidence, it’s just that it isn’t happening at the moment. Next Saturday, I’m sure we will approach it in a way that the strikers show that they can score because they have been working hard as well.” The talented Grealish had been forced to train with Villa’s development squad as a punishment for being filmed in a Manchester nightclub hours after the first team’s 4-0 defeat at Everton and amid allegations he also partied at a Birmingham hotel the following day. He again had no involvement in Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton, but after he has played for the reserves on Monday, Garde – who has overseen two draws and two defeats since his appointment as Villa’s manager – will again consider the 20-year-old for selection. Press Association
The first 20 minutes of the game acted as an adjustment period for a USC offense missing star freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu, who was sidelined with a concussion. The Trojans went 9-33 from the field during the half and allowed the Huskies to gain a 5-point lead on the heels of a standout performance from freshman forward Jaden McDaniels. Stewart was guarded by Rakocevic, freshman forward Max Agbonkpolo and Mobley. Agbonkpolo, whose minutes have been limited by Okongwu’s dominant presence on the court, finished with a season-best six rebounds that contributed to a team total of 45. USC finds itself tied at fifth place in the Pac-12 with a March Madness berth still up in the air. At halftime, USC alum and current San Antonio Spur DeMar DeRozan was honored by having his No. 10 jersey retired. The four-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist led the Trojans in the 2008-09 season to a Pac-10 title. DeRozan attended the game alongside his family and former teammates. But Rakocevic was the star of the second half turnaround. He poured in 14 points in the final 20 minutes, giving him a team-best 19 on the night to go along with nine rebounds in Okongwu’s absence. The game represented a stark contrast to USC’s 72-40 blowout loss to Washington in January: USC limited the Huskies to a 35% shooting percentage Thursday. USC’s shooting prowess eventually began to wear Washington down. After freshman guard Ethan Anderson went out with a hyperextended knee four minutes into the second half, senior guard Jonah Mathews got hot, sinking three 3-pointers and finishing the game with 16 points. By the end of the half, McDaniels had already bested his 12-point- per-game average with 14. The guard finished with a season-best 19 points. “Great win for our team,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said after the game. “It was a good battle defensively … We had eight guys show up tonight and really compete.” The Trojans will take on Washington State at Galen Center Saturday. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. The scoring explosion was coupled with a defensive surge that allowed USC to win the turnover battle, forcing Washington to cough the ball up 11 times. McDaniels didn’t see nearly as many easy buckets in the second half while teammate freshman forward Isaiah Stewart was limited to just 4 points in the paint. “It’s getting real, but you just have to stay focused,” Mathews said. “It’s all going to come together. We got to keep on winning.” USC returned to Galen Center Thursday and left with a 62-56 win against Pac-12 foe Washington. The victory broke the Trojans’ three game losing streak and improved their conference record to 7-5. The Huskies ran a tough zone defense, but it didn’t make the paint impenetrable. Once the Trojans got in the lane, it was just a matter of finishing their shots. Unfortunately for USC, their forwards proved unable to do so for much of the half. Senior forward Nick Rakocevic entered the break with only 6 points alongside freshman forward Isaiah Mobley’s 5. To keep their momentum going against Washington State this weekend, the Trojans will have to continue protecting the ball and rely on their defensive ability to shut opponents down. “These are the moments we should all be able to enjoy and express and feel the love and be with the ones you love and care about,” DeRozan told the audience before the banner reveal. “I appreciate everyone here, I appreciate USC for honoring me with this.” But the Trojans’ offensive energy dramatically improved in the second half. USC scored 9 unanswered points to start the half and reclaimed a 34-30 lead within just three minutes. Senior forward Nick Rakocevic nearly registered a double-double Thursday night with 19 points and 9 rebounds. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan)