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Cannabis use among youngsters on the rise in State, say psychiatrists

With an increase in the number of ganja users across the State, psychiatrists point out the spike in the number of cases of cannabis dependence among youngsters during the past five years.

Cannabis use among youngsters on the rise in State, say psychiatrists
Narcotics Intelligence Bureau


As per the recent data from the Narcotics Intelligence Bureau, the number of ganja users in India has gone up to over three crores in 2019 from 6.7 lakh in 2014. Medicos say that a large number of ganja users are being brought to them due to psychological issues such as psychotic episodes, hallucinations and other issues.

Psychologists receive not only college-going students, but also schoolkids who often have to drop out because of overuse of ganja and the prevalence is on an increasing trend during the last five years, say medicos.

“One of the common reasons behind the increased usage of ganja is peer-pressure that has created a trend, especially in the last five years. It is common to see that the availability of cannabis has become easier and most of them say that they get these habits from their circles in educational institutions or workplace. There are at least three-four such cases in a month. Though there is a huge risk of medical issues such as cardiac arrest, nausea, high blood pressure, weak immune system and others, psychological issues, including paranoid thinking, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression are more common,” said senior consultant Psychiatrist Dr A Raman.

According to the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre report of the AIIMS, submitted to the Ministry of Social Justice few months ago, about three crore individuals in India report having used any cannabis product within past one year, with 2.2 crore people using bhang and 1.3 crore people using charas. As per the report, about 72 lakh individuals need help and treatment for their cannabis use problems.

“The incidence of cannabis usage is on the increasing trend among the adolescents, youngsters in the recent years and there’s a significant proportion of them who are amounting to Cannabis Use Disorder. Cannabis usage is linked to having five times the greater risk of having a Psychotic Episode which can manifest with agitation, aggression, hallucinations and delusions,” said Dr Vivian Kapil, psychiatrist at SIMS Hospital.

“The treatment process goes on for few weeks with regular follow-up for months with counselling and psychotherapy techniques like contingency management, enhancing coping skills, alternative prosocial behaviours, cognitive restructuring and other relapse prevention strategies,” added Dr Vivian.

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