In Brief

Almost all cannabis on UK streets is ‘super-strength’ skunk

New study finds ‘high-risk’ strain accounted for 94% of police seizures of drug in 2016

Almost all of the cannabis being illegally sold in the UK is super-strength sinsemilla, otherwise known as skunk, a new study has found.

Researchers from King’s College London analysed 995 samples seized by police in Kent, Derbyshire, Merseyside, Sussex and London, the BBC reports. They found that skunk accounted for 94% of cannabis seizures in 2016, compared with 85% in 2008, and 51% in 2005.

Experts are warning of “potential mental health risks” associated with the high-potency marijuana, says Sky News. According to the most recent figures available, there were 7,545 hospital admissions in 2016-17 for “drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders” - a 12% increase from 2006-07, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Lead study author Dr Marta Di Forti, Medical Research Council clinician scientist at King’s College London, said: “In previous research we have shown that regular users of high-potency cannabis carry the highest risk for psychotic disorders, compared to those who have never used cannabis.

“The increase of high-potency cannabis on the streets poses a significant hazard to users’ mental health, and reduces their ability to choose more benign types.”

Cannabis is now the most commonly used drug in England and Wales, with 6.6% of people aged 16 to 59 - 2.2 million people - having used it in the past year, according to Home Office statistics.

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