News

Mental health fears over super-strong Northern Rivers dope

CANNABIS from the Northern Rivers is among the most potent in the world, sparking fears users could be at risk of developing mental health problems and dependency.

As Australia has one of the highest per-capita rates of cannabis use worldwide, a National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre study, the first of its kind in Australia, analysed levels of THC.

THC, the main psychoactive component of the drug that gets users "stoned", is linked to mental health prob- lems and anxiety.

Researchers examined 232 samples of cannabis seized by NSW police from recreational users and in large outdoor and indoor cultivations.

Study leader Dr Wendy Swift said samples seized from users at Lismore, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads were found to have some of the highest levels of THC.

Cannabis tested also had extremely low levels of cannabidiol, which is thought to counteract some negative effects of THC.

Dr Swift said while no research had linked changes in potency to metal health, it was biologically plausible.

"These results suggest that the profile of cannabis currently used in Australia may make some users vulnerable to mental health problems," she said.

"Cannabis becomes psychoactive once it's heated and high levels of THC can be very adversative to some people, and can induce cannabis psychosis."

Dr Swift said the average THC level found was just under 15%, the same level that cannabis is reclassified as a hard drug in the Netherlands.

She said the research also dispelled the myth that hydroponically grown cannabis was more potent, with northern NSW outdoor-grown samples containing as much THC as hydroponically grown marijuana from Sydney.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Baulderstone wasn't surprised cannabis from the region was among the most potent.

"There are a lot of cannabis users out there now who have had time to breed specific plants, and I'm not sure if the potency is a drama, as it means you smoke less," he said.

Topics:  cannabis, marijuana, mental health


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Surfers stunned by missing risk assessment on shark barrier

The Department of Industries has confirmed the shark barrier at Lighthouse Beach won’t be moved to a new position, despite recent protests from surfers that it will run through the take-off zone.

The key stakeholder group say they've been ignored by the DPI

Ballina councillor wants to ban McMansions

Worth the view? A three-storey seaside home.

Cr Johnson wants to restrict house heights in Ballina Shire

Latest deals and offers

$950m for Woolgoolga to Ballina Pac Hwy upgrade

MINISTER for Roads Duncan Gay and Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis today announced a record $1.5 billion in funding for the Pac Hwy.

Surfers stunned by missing risk assessment on shark barrier

The Department of Industries has confirmed the shark barrier at Lighthouse Beach won’t be moved to a new position, despite recent protests from surfers that it will run through the take-off zone.

The key stakeholder group say they've been ignored by the DPI

Ballina councillor wants to ban McMansions

Worth the view? A three-storey seaside home.

Cr Johnson wants to restrict house heights in Ballina Shire

Asylum camps a ‘beeping’ election issue

VIGIL: Northern Network for Refugees and Ballina Region for Refugees members  outside Matthew Fraser's office on River St.

Plenty of support for local refugee advocates

Green light given for animal shelter

FINALLY: Northern Rivers Animal Services president Robyn Mostyn (centre), secretary Michela Brown (left), volunteer Amy Gasnier and mascot Daisy.

Work is expected to start on the new shelter this week

Chasing Asylum documentary to screen locally

An image from the film Chasing Asylum by Australian director Eva Orner.

The latest film by Academy Award winner Australian Eva Orner

Ernie Els dunks for eagle

Smooth swing, great shot.

Ernie Els lives up to his reputation for one of the best swings in golf.

Jay Leno in spectacular rollover

Car flips after wheelie stunt.

Jay Leno gets more than he expected when he rides along in a 2500 HP Barracuda.

John Oliver on Brexit

John Oliver tries to explain the Brexit result.

John Oliver explains the fallout from Brexit on Last Week Tonight.

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?