A DOCTOR has urged the city to say no to using cannabis after a rise in patients suffering with physical and mental health issues because of the drug.

Dr Jason Seewoodhary, GP at Barbourne Medical Centre in Worcester, has urged residents in the city to stay away from the class B drug due to the damage it causes.

“Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK,” he said.

“I’m frequently seeing more and more patients suffering with physical and mental health illness, as well as complex social and legal issues, as a consequence of cannabis use.

I’d like to reach out to our community by supporting, educating and empowering them to say “no” to cannabis and understand the harmful effects of its use.

Dr Seewoodhary warned against regular use of cannabis as it increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.

“It is also associated with other psychological effects including feeling anxious, confused and paranoid, memory loss and difficulty concentrating,” he said.

“Cannabis can causes hallucinations, whereby you may see things or hear voices that are not really there, or delusions characterised by firmly believing in things that are not true.

“Physical health effects of using cannabis include feeling wheezy and out of breath, developing a painful cough, making symptoms of asthma worse and reduced fertility in both men and women.”

Dr Seewoodhary added: “It’s possible to get addicted to cannabis.

“Leading on from this, if regular users stop taking cannabis, they may get withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling irritable, nauseated, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, sweating, shaking and diarrhoea.

“I would urge patients trying to give up cannabis to seek support from their GP or the regional Swanswell Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Office in Worcester who can be contacted on 01905 721020.”

Using cannabis during pregnancy can also lead to complications during the birth and in later life, Dr Seewoodhary explained, including premature birth.

“If used in pregnancy, cannabis is associated with an increased risk of the baby being born prematurely with a low birth weight, which in turn may lead onto a number of other health complications,” he said.

“There is also some research to suggest that using cannabis regularly during pregnancy could affect a baby’s brain development as they get older.”