Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2014 Contents A17
March 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
Decriminalising marijuana will cre-
ate a greater burden on the health care
system, social services and the police
that far outweigh the benefits says Dr
Varma Deyalsingh, secretary of the
Association of Psychiatrists of T&T
He said while marijuana (or ganja is
it is commonly known) had certain
medical benefits such as treating glau-
coma, nausea and pain relief, T&T was
a different society from the Netherlands
and Denmark which are first world
He said in those first world countries,
someone can easily call for help from
an institution if someone was "tripping"
from marijuana and rest assured med-
ical assistance will arrive to take that
person to hospital.
Deyalsingh said, "T&T is a different
scenario because you have mentally ill
people on the road and you can t seem
to get them off the streets to give them
proper treatment in St Ann s hospital
because of bureaucracy."
and psychotic illness
Deyalsingh said, "We found more
young people coming into hospitals
with marijuana-induced psychosis,
paranoia and it can also trigger schiz-
ophrenia and psychotic illnesses in indi-
viduals predisposed to the condition.
"They don t show you that in movies
when they glamourise marijuana. And
we can t police drinking alcohol and
driving properly much less marijuana."
He said mental institutions didn t
have the space and capacity to handle
an influx of additional patients and
were forced to send them back to soci-
ety prematurely in two weeks to wreak
the same mischief .
Deyalsingh said that it was in our
nature and culture to do things in excess
such as speeding on the roads, obesity,
promiscuity and HIV and there was
already difficulty controlling these
Bubble gum marijuana
Deyalsingh further said drugs and
marijuana were the hidden economy
in several countries and drug dealers
will look for harder drugs such as ecsta-
sy, cocaine and heroin to sell if mar-
ijuana was legalised.
Deyalsingh said there were also mod-
ern, more potent strains of marijuana
such as kush that had one of the highest
concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC), the active ingredient in mar-
ijuana available on the underground
He said what was also raising con-
cerns for doctors was another strain of
the drug called bubble gum marijuana,
which has a sweet and fruity smell and
tastes like actual bubble gum.
He said the bubble gum marijuana
was the most insidious form of mar-
ijuana if it was targeted at young chil-
Fabien: Teenagers most
vulnerable to marijuana
Media personality Errol Fabien said
he knew many people who had devel-
oped mental illnesses as a direct result
of marijuana abuse.
A recovering addict who described
himself as an abuser of marijuana and
a polyaddict, he said the THC in mar-
ijuana lodges itself in fatty tissue. The
brain is made up of fatty tissue and
that s why abuse of it especially among
teenagers was something to discourage.
Fabien said he agreed with reasonable
decriminalisation but not legalisation
of marijuana, that certain aged people
with certain amounts of marijuana from
certain instances of offenses should
not be made criminals.
Rebirth House Outreach co-ordi-
nator Michael Andre said there were
over 400 chemicals in marijuana; that
cultivators sprayed insecticide on the
plants and when compressing the weed
for smuggling it was soaked in
embalming fluid, formaldehyde, to
throw off sniffer dogs.
Andre, a recovering addict, said there
was a reason for drug testing at con-
struction sites as drugs including mar-
ijuana impaired judgment and coor-
dination which resulted in accidents.
He said Rebirth House was seeing
more dual drug-induced psychosis
among young people which caused
them to have mental health problems
that needed referral to St Ann s hospital.
Andre said the fallout from Col-
orado s legalisation of marijuana
wouldn t be felt right away, but they
will regret it just like cocaine didn t
become an epidemic until it became
ganja a burden
...on healthcare, police, social services
The Colorado, USA marijuana industry---which is responsible for thousands of new jobs---is projected to raise
US$130 million in taxes for the state next year alone.
Dr Varma Deyalsingh
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