The ‘War on Weed’
(the Advertiser, 2 July) will help thousands of South Australian families, because
it sends a current and accurate message that marijuana is far more harmful than
in the past. Some people are unaware of just how much the drug has changed in
30 years.  

Drug Free
Australia is part of some cutting-edge global research that is revealing very
concerning findings about the harms of cannabis use. Here are some facts to


Much stronger
forms of marijuana are now pushed in our communities, according to many reliable sources including NIDA. If used during pregnancy, cannabis can hinder the foetal pre-natal brain formation, similar to alcohol use, which can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This can have long term effects as it ‘sets in stone’, the errors of brain structure to impact on brain development and function at adolescent stages.

Please note that most cannabis online for example Kosher Kush THC 26.8%, 501 ST OG THC 25. 9%, INGRID THC 26.3%, 530 Grower Crème Brulee THC 26.7%, and Australian SKUNK Hybrids have THC levels 30% and above. 

In developing
babies, constriction of their arteries can lead to serious side effects such as
gastroschisis - a birth defect in which the baby's intestines extend outside of
the body through a hole next to the navel. In
Australia, Canada, North Carolina, Colorado, Mexico and New Zealand,
gastroschisis (and sometimes other major congenital defects) cluster where
cannabis use is highest. 


Cannabis can
damage arteries. In adults this causes heart attack (500% elevation in the
first hour after smoking), stroke, severe cardiac arrhythmias including sudden
cardiac death.  


Mental health disorders
such as anxiety, paranoia and psychosis are now well recognised side-effects of
marijuana use.

It is a known
‘gateway’ to other drugs including Ice: for example a JAMA study (2016) shows
significant associations with marijuana use included increased risk of alcohol
use disorders, nicotine dependence and other drug use disorders. Too many South
Australians report that marijuana led to their family member’s ice use. 


Cannabis causes
12 cancers and has been identified as a carcinogen by the California
Environmental Protection agency (2009).  This makes it also a
mutagen.   Four these cancers are inheritable to children. 


The ‘War on Weed’
is a tough, courageous and fair stand by Ms Chapman. It targets traffickers and
those who manufacture, with prison sentences; it also gives users at least two
chances to bypass the criminal justice system so that they can be educated and
rehabilitated in the harms of marijuana.  


Perhaps it might
be more appropriately termed: ‘A Defence of the Brain’. Our next generation
will thank us for supporting the initiative. 

Jo Baxter
Executive Director
Drug Free Australia
PO Box 379
Seaford, SA 5169

Don't Promote Drug Use

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