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Cannabis reclassification welcomed by GPs

GPs have voiced their support for the government's reclassification of cannabis, citing their concerns over the increasing numbers of patients presenting with complications with the drug.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was ‘erring on the side of caution' by ignoring her own advisors and reclassifying cannabis from class C to class B.

A report from the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said that after ‘most careful scrutiny' of the evidence a majority of the Council's thought cannabis should remain a Class C drug.

‘It is judged that the harmfulness of cannabis more closely equates with other Class C substances than with those currently classified as Class B,' said a letter to the Home Secretary from Professor Michael Rawlins, chairman of the Advisory Council.

Dr Clare Gerada, a GP in South-East London and a member of the Advisory Council, said her views differed from her colleagues on the Advisory Council about how dangerous cannabis is.

‘GPs don't need to care about the classification of cannabis. But they should remain alert to the fact cannabis is a dangerous drug, it causes lung cancer, throat cancer, anxiety disorders and possibly psychosis when taken in at-risk individuals,' she said.

Dr Gerada previously told Pulse that said that doctors were having to cope with an influx of patients presenting with the psychological and physical effects of cannabis use.

The reclassification was welcomed by other GPs.

Dr John Hague, a GPSI in mental health in Ipswich, said: ‘I have had first-hand experience of the effects of cannabis on my patients' mental health and I applaud any steps to decrease the risk of harm.'

Dr Clare Gerada

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