The UK’s National Health Service has opened the country’s very first cannabis treatment clinic. This move was a response to the rapid increase of skunk-induced psychosis.
Wait, what is skunk?
Skunk in the UK refers to high-THC and very potent varieties of cannabis. It is the generic term for seedless and non-pollinated cannabis buds that are grown — illegally, of course — for smoking purposes.
Sinsemilla became widespread in the country in the early 1990s following the revolution in cannabis growing techniques. Skunk is typically cultivated by incorporating high-pressure sodium lighting and other high-intensity discharge lamps, and often combined with hydroponics.
Users of the drug are going to hospitals complaining of symptoms of psychosis. And the rate at which skunk users are showing up is alarming.
Hallucinations often occur as a result of the psychosis. Users affected may also experience distress and paranoia.
According to Dr. Marta Di Forti, the psychiatrist heading the pilot cannabis treatment clinic in Lambeth, south London, the number of cases of skunk-induced psychosis is overwhelming. In fact, she described it as becoming a crisis in the UK and the number of incidents can no longer be ignored. Tens of thousands of people are affected.
Doctors had warned that hospitals in London are lacking the resources needed for mental health provision. What’s more, the skunk problem was placing a huge burden on London’s strained psychiatric units.
Thus, the need for a facility that is focused on the treatment of skunk-induced psychosis has been magnified.
The new clinic will treat skunk users who have experienced psychosis for the first time. They will undergo a three-month program designed to wean them off the substance.
The treatment clinic is funded by the Maudsley Charity.