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Teenagers can get cannabis "easier than alcohol"

Teenagers can get cannabis "easier than alcohol"

Published at 6:01am 18th May 2017. (Updated at 9:20am 18th May 2017)

There's a warning that teenagers are finding it easier to get hold of cannabis than alcohol.

The warning comes from think tank Volteface, which says its research, released off the back of Mental Health Awareness Week, also shows young people are unaware of the effect the drug can have on their mental health. 

Paul North has worked as a drug treatment worker in North Yorkshire for the last 9 years, 5 of which were in Harrogate.

He now represents Volteface, which is calling for a regulated cannabis market.  

WATCH: How to talk to your kids about drugs

Paul says the research is concerning, because it now only shows that teenagers are finding the drug easy to get hold of, but also that the type of cannabis they're then consuming is very strong.  

He said: "There are two active ingredients in cannabis, THC and CBD. There are 779 strains of cannabis and each one of these strains have varying levels of THC and CBD. THC is the pleasurable element of the weed, but it can also cause the problems. CBD is an anti-psychotic and can calm the mind. These two chemicals act alongside each other.

"Now what we see from street weed at the moment is the THC level is very, very high, and the CBD level is much lower. 

"We have this image of weed being this quite a safe, calming drug, but the reality is street weed is much different. That THC level is much higher. 

"I've come across many young people who are using street weed, high level THC weed, on a regular basis and they're just disengaging with education because it is so difficult to smoke that sort of weed and concentrate in a lesson. 

"I've spent years educating kids on cannabis and when you say to them, that type of weed you are smoking, they have no idea.

"One of the issues with the cannabis market at the moment is because it's unregulated, because it's controlled by criminals, there is no negotiation in terms of what you want to have. It's  a real policy concern for us that kids are getting access to drugs that are detrimental to their mental health and well-being." 

Paul has been telling Stray FM more about the research: 

The following services provide advice and information about drugs in North Yorkshire: 

www.nyhorizons.org.uk

www.compass-uk.org/compass-reach

www.talktofrank.com