Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Education And Debate

Improving the quality of the cannabis debate: defining the different domains

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 08 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:108

Rapid Response:

The link between cannabis and depression.

I am not a medical researcher. My background (around thirty years) is
as a remedial tutor for adolescents. The factor that I see again and
again, and that seems to be regularly overlooked in debates, is the
dramatic link between first use of marijuana and a depressed, emotionally
painful state in the child, which they do not connect to cannabis use. I
feel strongly that this is what causes cannabis to act as a "gateway"
drug. First use of cannabis is invariably social ... daring
experimentation and fun. First use of heroin is more as a response to
somneone telling them it will "make the pain go away."

Is it possible medically to establish this link?

I have no competing interests.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 January 2000
Chris Hamerton
Writing a book on effects of cannabis on children.
Brisbane, Australia.