Cannabis as Bins, Not Cans

*Amos Kagiri*

“Is the patient on any drugs?” I posed this question to one of clients, seeking help.

“Only the usual ones.” As a nurse, my guess was that the patient was on something close to acetaminophen, ipobrufen, or say amoxicillin. Upon probing further, this was not my client’s view of ‘usual ones’.

She meant that the patient was using alcohol, shisha and bhang.
26th June Was World’s Drug Abuse Day. As a nurse, walking down the streets of my hometown, I can easily tell an alcoholic, a smoker, as well as one with withdrawals. One day I engaged a colleague who smokes bhang, which he claims is on occasional basis.

His defense statement was that bhang has a wide range of benefits, with no serious side effect.

As a Mental Health Nurse, I’ll objectively state that most admissions at our psychiatric unit are drug induced psychotic patients (A condition where one loses control of his mind, sees, hears and feels nonexistent things, and becomes delusional). Surprised? Don’t be. As much as we picture depression as the top mental health illness, drug induced psychosis is a wanting diagnosis. Did you know that 50% of cannabis smokers develop psychosis later in life?

Unlike depression, substance induced psychosis is a lifelong disease. This means the treatment will be used for life, and some effects may never be controlled. Bringing the point home, this diagnosis is similar to ‘the mad man in the market.’

Inter and national headlines often hit on the rising cases of depression. However, none has put emphasis on our brothers and sisters behind the locked ‘strong rooms’ in mental hospitals. Their cries upon stabilizing are full of regrets and blame on peer influence. These are my everyday stories at work.

As we fight and mitigate depression and suicide, let us keep safe from the destructive drugs. Let’s not normalize cannabis, cocaine, shisha and alcohol as ‘usual drugs’. By definition of a drug, then we’d shine light past the painted lovely image of cannabis by the ‘persons of interest.’

Did you catch this week’s Silicon Editorial? If you missed it, click here to read it.


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