Department of Health written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Procedure Committee, Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when his Department conducted its most recent study into the potency of skunk cannabis; and if he will commission a new potency study with respect to that drug.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

In 2008, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch published ‘Home Office Cannabis Potency Study 2008’, which noted that skunk cannabis was “on average, 2-3 times that of imported herbal cannabis or cannabis resin.”

In August 2011, the Department published ‘A summary of the health harms of drugs’, which summarises the scientific evidence about the risk factors associated with a range of licit and illicit substances, including skunk, commonly used in the United Kingdom. It notes that the:

“health effects of increases in the potency of cannabis products are not clear; may depend on the impact on routine use, however there is evidence of binge use among some users increasing the risk of dependence and psychotic symptoms”

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Peter Reynolds
Posted on 28 Jan 2015 11:15 am (Report this annotation)

It is a disgrace that Parliament is using the term 'skunk' in the scaremongering tabloid sense.

The only accurate use of the term is as the name of particular strain of cannabis produced from crossing Afghan, Mexican and Colombian varieties. Its average THC content when expertly grown is 9%. It is therefore far from the strongest strains available in the UK which range up to about 25% THC. It is also not widely available in the UK and has not been for more than 15 years.

Charles Walker MP is notorious for disseminating inaccurate and misleading information on cannabis. His use of the term 'skunk' and this mischievous question demonstrates, yet again, his dishonest and malevolent role in the debate around drugs policy.