Stronger cannabis 'has users suffering withdrawal'
The form of strong cannabis which is now more widely used can be addictive and leave people suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Dr Gerry McCarney, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with the HSE, said more young people are seeking help for cannabis addiction.
The view that cannabis was non-addictive has changed and the form of the drug which is available here now is much stronger than in the past.
He was speaking at an event on 'Cannabis use and the adolescent brain: risk factors, consequences and treatment', organised by the Addiction Group at the Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Trinity College Dublin.
The conference was told that public attitudes towards cannabis have softened in recent years.
"This has coincided with an increase in use by adolescents. While most users do not develop a dependence, some do, especially those who start use at a young age," he said.
It can have a stronger impact on younger people, whose brains are developing up to their mid-20s.
It can lead to behavioural change, loss of motivation and drive, lack of application at school as well as aggression and drug debt.
"Drugs are for mugs," said Dr McCarney.
Also speaking at the gathering was Prof Hugh Garavan, University of Vermont and formally Associate Professor of Psychology, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin.
The Health Research Board report on treatment trends found opiates, mainly heroin, were the most common main problem drug reported, accounting for 42pc of cases treated in 2018.
Cannabis was the second most common main drug, accounting for 23pc of cases treated in 2018.
The number of cases increased from 2,290 in 2012 to 2,358 in 2018. Cannabis was the most common drug among new entrants to drug treatment in 2018.