Fedon Kaloterakis is a doctor of psychology - president of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities and vice-president of the World Federation, vice-president of TO Keteia (Greece) and expert at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He is an honorary professor at the University of Thessaloniki and the University of California. This is what Fedon Kaloterakis shared during one of his working visits to train specialists in Bulgaria.
“In one of the 2007 issues of the Independent, on the front page, the editorial staff of the British newspaper apologized for its support for the use of cannabis. Ten years earlier, the Independent campaigned for the decriminalization of the possession and use of cannabis. He also organized a huge demonstration in front of Buckingham Palace, in which over 300,000 people participated.
Ten years later, however, scientific research proved the harm of cannabis. In 2006 alone, over ten thousand teenagers in the UK were treated for cannabis addiction. "Many cases of mental disorders unlocked after cannabis use - bipolar disorder and schizophrenia - have also been registered. For me, this apology by the "Independent" newspaper is a precedent and a very brave gesture.
The active ingredient in the cannabis plant that you can get high on is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabiol (CBD) is the ingredient that helps in the treatment of a number of diseases. Hemp and marijuana are products of the cannabis plant that have contrasting functions and effects on the human body. Hemp products relieve pain, helping to soothe both external and internal pains and conditions, while marijuana products are high in THC and have a powerful psychotic effect on the mind. In some countries, however, they use the authorization for the medical use of cannabis as a loophole and for the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, explained the specialist.
Since 2017, Canada has allowed the use of marijuana for pleasure
In Uruguay it is also allowed, as well as in several US states -Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Washington. There, everywhere one can buy marijuana for pleasure, and this is already a serious problem.
There is a big battle going on in American scientific circles right now. Most scientists question the statistics from these states, as they try to suggest that everything is fine there. At the same time, there are a huge number of people who are in treatment for addictions. The situation is very politicized. Some senators and congressmen were elected just because they promised to legalize marijuana.
Another problem is that this industry is already huge. In these states, especially in Colorado, for 6-7 years, the production and sale of marijuana has overtaken the alcohol industry several times. An American doctor from Denver showed me a map of over 1,000 cannabis shops. Marketing is specific - primarily targeting African Americans and Hispanics. It's a lot of money.
Cannabis use is not an innocent game. It can be dangerous, especially for teenagers. I'm 60 years old and if I smoke a joint a month I'll get a little high but there won't be any he alth effects as I don't do it every day. However, the same is not true for teenagers. The human brain develops by the age of 25. There is strong evidence that the active substance THC seriously affects the brain.
One of the reasons is that today's cannabis is much stronger than it was 14 years ago. It is specially selected because the production is done in laboratories. There used to be only 3% THC in cannabis, now it's 15-20%. This makes its effect on the brain devastating. Cannabis destroys intelligence, memory, speed of reactions. In most cases, this is an irreversible process. More dangerously, it can trigger schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression. The use of cannabis in young people is like Russian roulette, because they do not know what genes they have, the expert summarized.