Psychiatrist, addictologist, writer and columnist, Imane Kendili, has just published a new book at Orion Publishing under the title: “Cannabis, what science says about it.” A very current medical trial that reports on the issue of legalizing cannabis and its effects on consumer health. The result of ten years of work and research, this medical essay, signed by Dr. Imane Kendili, psychiatrist and addictologist, author, among others, of the best-selling: “Drugs Explained to My Children,” is an in-depth and rigorous study on issue of cannabis, in view of the latest news related to its legalization in Morocco, for therapeutic purposes.
Indeed, on May 26, 2021, Moroccan lawmakers passed a law authorizing the therapeutic use of cannabis, a major reform for a country considered one of the world’s leading producers of hashish. The text on “lawful uses of cannabis, medical, cosmetic and industrial” was adopted by the House of Representatives with 119 votes in favor and 48 against. Recreational use, on the other hand, is prohibited and subject to prosecution. The purpose of the bill is to “convert illicit crops that destroy the environment into sustainable legal activities that generate value and employment,” as the text of the bill reads.
Also worth noting is that Morocco is still the world’s largest producer of cannabis resin, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2020 annual report. Recent figures in Rabat show “55,000 hectares cultivated in 2019”, mainly in the North, with annual revenues rising from around € 500 million in the early 2000s to almost € 325 million in 2020, and a “consolidated turnover in Europe” of almost 10.8 billion euros.
A study published in 2020 by the independent network “Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime” estimated Morocco’s production at more than 700 tons per year, for a total value of about 19 billion euros. In this sense, Morocco relies on the “sustained development” of the global medical and industrial cannabis market, with forecasts of average annual growth of around 60% in Europe, which remains its “target market”. Annual agricultural revenues are estimated at $ 420 million to $ 630 million by 2028.
It should also be noted that cannabis, banned in 1954 but has since been tolerated, currently has 400,000 people, 60,000 families, according to official figures. Until now, small farmers in northern Morocco accounted for “4% of final turnover in the illegal circuit” compared to potentially “12% in the legal market”, according to MAP. The legalization of therapeutic use aims to improve their living conditions and protect them from drug trafficking networks.
Here is the news that underlies this book that goes to the essentials to shed light on the various ramifications related to the legalization of cannabis, both from a medical, psychiatric, social and cultural point of view. The idea is to provide many answers to various questions that Moroccans ask, but not only, on the health impacts of consumers, on the risks to cannabis users, on addictions and psychiatric disorders. by this substance, which remains a drug with many harmful effects on health. This is the purpose of this reflection, which aims to shed light on all these negative aspects that need to be diagnosed and analyzed, starting from many studies conducted around the world on the realities of cannabis, its derivatives and its effects.
In this sense, for example, Dr. Imane Kendili looks at the effects of cannabis on young people to reveal a number of complications that need to be taken into account when addressing the issue of cannabis and its use. . Indeed, when asked about the idea that they have drugs, teenagers give cannabis a positive image as opposed to the negative effects they associate only with tobacco use. Cannabis is described as “pleasant”, “friendly” and even “natural”, it is also perceived as less dangerous and less addictive than nicotine, it is cited as “a product that does no harm”. Yet there is a lot of scientific evidence, and there is a wide variety of studies that show that there are health risks, all related to cannabis use. Young people, whose brains are maturing up to the age of about 25, are particularly affected, say all the experts who have looked at the study of cannabis and its impact on young people’s health. The impact is measured in terms of physical and mental health but also academic success and social and professional integration.
On the other hand, whatever the personal beliefs of each other, whether for or against the legalization of cannabis, all specialists, doctors and researchers, say without a shadow of a doubt that the Cannabis use has important public health implications. Not to mention here that there is a point on which the adversaries seem to agree who seem to want to ignore the results of scientific studies on the issue of cannabis by stating the opposite of what all researchers propose, through cutting-edge clinical trials that do not suffer from any shadows. What makes psychiatrist and addict Michel Lejoyeux say in a L’Obs forum: “Addiction is the only field of medicine where opinions are enough.”
This echoes the words of another specialist, Prof. Alain Joffe, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), who states: “Imagine you are invited to testify before the legislators of your state, on how decriminalization or legalization of adult cannabis use would affect those under 21 years of age. Or ask you, as a child and adolescent health expert, to explain how laws on medical cannabis use affect young people’s perceptions of risk. What would you say? ”Reads a JAMA Pediatrics editorial. Alain Joffe presented a study on the development of cannabis use and the perception of the risk associated with American adolescents in the first two states that legalized recreational use among adults in 2012 (Washington and Colorado), compared to the states that continue to ban it. And the least that can be said is that the results are clear. On the one hand, the states banning the use of cannabis, and on the other the states that have legalized it, with a whole battery of harmful effects noted among young people who freely consume various cannabis products, ranging from from herbs to sweets to so-called energy drinks and other pastries with the addition of cannabis to vary tastes and make recipes.
To all this must be added, as Dr. Imane Kendili points out, all the other conditions caused by cannabis use: behavioral disorders, cognitive disorders, impact on the brain, heart, system. vascularity, sexuality, mood, sleep, sperm quality, lungs, academic performance, concentration, and memory. All these pathologies are targeted by many studies that all report the danger associated with cannabis use, not only in men but also in women, with major complications, especially during pregnancy and lactation.
That is to say, we have to weigh the pros and cons when we address this thorny issue of cannabis, which now has the upper hand, becoming a kind of financial manna that promises big revenues, making us forget about above all, that it is a drug whose therapeutic use must be treated with great rigor, avoiding confusion and overly elastic amalgams that could obliterate the worst in a mercantile logic all azimuth.
Cannabis, according to science. Imane Kendili. Orion Editions. (280 pages; June 2022)