Source: The Mercury, 18 February, 1997, p.4


Cannabis users not so way out

LONG-TERM cannabis users
ran a heightened risk of res-
piratory problems and depen-
dence on the drug but were an 
otherwise unremarkable seg-
ment of the population, a new
study has found.

   A world-first study of 268
long-term cannabis users was
carried out on the New South
Wales north coast by the
National Drug and Alcohol
Research Centre.

One of the study's authors,
David Reilly of the Northern 
Rivers Health Service, said 
yesterday the most remark-
able finding was that long-
term cannabis users were not 
that different from the rest of
society.

   "The exceptional thing is
that the respondents are un-
exceptional ... these people
on these indicators, are not
that different from the north-
coast and general popu-
lations," he said.

   The study showed that long-
term cannabis users had a
greater incidence of respirat
ory problems, but a large 
proportion (64% ) were also 
tobacco smokers, he said.

   The average age of those
who participated in the study
was 36 years, the median
length of cannabis use was 19
years.


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