Psychiatrist calls on govt to consider resources for mental illness in marijuana legislationPosted by On


Tribune Staff Reporter

WITH officials said to be finalising marijuana legislation, a local psychiatrist has called on the government to prioritise providing sufficient resources for those with mental illnesses, which she found could progress to a chronic psychotic illness with substance abuse.

Dr Tameka Johnson- Dames, who has been working at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre for seven years, conducted a research report as a part of her medical studies last year to explore a possible association between cannabis use and psychosis in patients admitted to the facility between March 2019 and February 2021.

Through examination of 101 patient medical records, Dr Johnson-Dames found that 24 of the patients who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia had an evolution of this diagnosis, with 17 of them having also used cannabis.

Her report concluded: “Cannabis use was not found to be associated with a complicated hospital course, nor was a family history of psychiatric illness associated with increased admissions for cannabis induced psychosis. This was regardless of admission time period. However, its use was associated with the conversion of psychosis to a chronic psychotic illness.”

With these findings in mind, Dr Johnson-Dames told The Tribune this week that the problem of mental health and substance abuse should be addressed “now”. She pointed to there being just one public in-patient substance abuse programme in…

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