By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja
The African Council on Narcotics has kicked against the legalization of cannabis, also known as marijuana, in Nigeria.
President of the Council, Mr Rekpene Bassey, said the drug has much more harmful effects than its medical benefits.
Highlighting some of the negative effects of the drug, he said it fast-tracks the onset of psychotic illness or mental disorders among young people in particular.
He pointed out that it also stirs up suicidal tendencies among young people as well as, affects short term memory which is required for young people to process learning.
Bassey said over 90 per cent of persons involved in violent crimes use marijuana.
He said it causes acute anxiety, paranoia, schizophrenia and is even more dangerous when mixed with drugs like cocaine, Tramadol, codeine and alcohol.
“The use of cannabis aids in escalating the spread of HIV/AIDS. It affects timing which could cause fatal road or industrial accidents. It adversely affects the respiratory immune and reproductive and central nervous system. Long intake of cannabis may cripple the male sperm leading to infertility. It also has adverse effects on T-cells which destroy the immune system of the lungs. Scientific study has shown that babies born to women who use cannabis during pregnancy are likely to be shorter, weigh less and have smaller heads. Smaller babies tend to develop health problems more easily. Users of cannabis lose their motivation very easily. There are several other negative effects of cannabis,” he said.
According to Bassey, the legalization of marijuana would amount to loosening control on dangerous drugs in the country at this time.
“It would impact negatively on public health and security generally, given the correlation between substance abuse and criminality. What is more? It would be a first step to legalizing substance abuse in Nigeria. That would then open the floodgates of junkies in our country. The negative impact this would have on security and the productive quality of our youths generally can only be imagined. It is on that note that we at the African Council on Narcotics take a very strong stand against the bill to legalize cannabis in Nigeria,” he said.