Harmful use on the rise

The number of Australians seeking hospital treatment for cannabis-related problems has jumped 30 per cent since 2002, with older users most affected, according to a UNSW study.

Cannabis hospital inside

The number of Australians seeking treatment for cannabis-related problems has jumped 30 per cent since 2002, according to a study by UNSW's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC).

A study published online in the journal Addiction found that although the overall number of Australians using cannabis has declined, the rate of harmful use, including daily use, has increased markedly since 1995, particularly among 30 to 49 year olds where presentations at hospitals nearly doubled.

"There is good evidence that daily or near daily use by adults can lead to the development of cannabis dependence, and regular use is also associated with an increased risk of psychosis," said study lead author Amanda Roxburgh.

Figures also showed problems among younger daily users (aged 14-19) who were significantly more likely than older users to smoke 10 or more cones or joints a day. Of the younger daily users, 63 per cent reported difficulties controlling their use.

"The earlier someone starts using cannabis the more likely they are to develop problems including dependence later on," she said.

For more information go to the NDARC website.

Cannabis: it's not our culture

A one-day art exhibition showcasing community-led approaches to tackling cannabis abuse in Indigenous communities has opened in Sydney.

The exhibition of original works on canvas, lino print and slumped glass, was opened this week at Sydney's CarriageWorks by Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt.

The exhibition launches UNSW's National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre's Indigenous Project, which also includes a dedicated website and the development of resources for Indigenous healthcare workers

For more information and to see the art works go to the Not Our Culture website.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au