The use of marijuana for prescribed medication will potentially be legalised in South Africa this month.
Regulation of the medicinal use of cannabis is in the pipelines as plans to recognise dagga as a prescription drug (rather than a banned substance) move forward.
But the Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG ) feels that making dagga a Schedule 6 prescription drug is premature.
They believe that more thorough research is required, explains PsychMG director Dr Renata Schoeman.
Dr. Schoeman advises that the potential legalisation of dagga as a prescription drug will lead to its abuse for social purposes and create easier access.
She claims that international evidence has already shown the negative impact of legalised dagga on the brain fucntion of teenagers.
Schoeman also says it could lead to terminally ill patients believing that dagga is the 'panacea' of their disease, while not considering the psychiatric consequences.
She advises that dagga can lead to the on-set of anxiety, bi-polar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia.
It can potentially increase the abuse of cannabis.... There's also a lot of side-effects which have not been sufficiently researched.— Dr Renata Schoeman, Director of the Psychiatric Management Group
Take a listen to her weigh up the pros and cons of dagga:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Thorough research needed before dagga given prescription drug status - PsychMG