Mental health problems and addiction: the number of patients suffering from cannabis has tripled

DAccording to the Kaufmännische Krankenkasse (KKH), the number of people who have had to see a doctor due to health problems as a result of cannabis use has more than tripled in the last ten years.

The number of people insured by the fund who received outpatient treatment for acute intoxication, dependence, withdrawal symptoms or psychological problems caused by cannabinoids was just under 1,300 cases in 2012 and about 4,000 cases in 2022. Extrapolating to the total population, this is an increase from 65,400 in 2012 to 209,000 cases in 2022, KKH reported on Wednesday.

In the 15 to 19 age group, the number of cases roughly doubled from an extrapolated 5,600 to about 11,300. Because only confirmed diagnoses from outpatient clinicians were included in the analysis, the number of unreported cases is likely to be higher, it said. “It is important that young people themselves understand the risks associated with cannabis and learn how to deal with them properly,” explained Justin Onyechi from KKH. Dangers include brain damage and the development of psychosis or addiction.

“The younger the consumers, the higher the risk of, for example, impaired brain development or addiction,” Onyechi warned. Given the regulated nature of cannabis, young people today need to strengthen their knowledge to be able to make competent consumption decisions as adults.

For its analysis, the health insurer assessed the data of its 1.6 million insured individuals for diagnosis code F12, “Cannabinoid-Induced Mental and Behavioral Disorders.”

Possession, consumption and cultivation of cannabis is legal for adults from April 1, subject to certain conditions.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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