Mbanje is a very dangerous drug

Mthandazo Ndlovu

A lot of excitement is in the air after our local press carried the headline a�?Government legalises mbanje farminga�?.

Different thoughts clouded the Zimbabwean masses as the announcement of Statutory Instrument 62/ 2018 (dangerous drugs a�� production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific use regulations) was announced by our Health and Child Care Minister.

No matter what thought travelled in the individuala��s mind, what remains true is that mbanje is a dangerous drug as indicated even in the Act that it is still controlled and can only be used for the specified reasons.

But with the growing abuse of the drug even before it was licensed, the Government has to probably be proactive in educating the masses on the dangers of this substance before going into licensing as there are a lot of myths that are circulating about this cannabis sativa plant.

History reveals that dagga is not originally derived from Africa, Cannabis Sativa the gene name for dagga originated in the Far East, in countries such as China and Thailand.

In the Indian subcontinent, legends and tradition have it that dagga was used as a method to enhance meditation and concentration.

The danger that we have is the current cannabis sativa plant is not the same as that of long ago, it is now more potent with the experimenting that has been going with the plant.

The truth about the cannabis sativa plant and its products is that mbanje use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 28 days after abstinence from the drug.

Marijuana contains about 400 components, most of which we know little about. The most prominent component is called THC.

Scientists have found that THC is what produces the a�?higha�? usersa�� experience. In todaya��s street marijuana, which is usually smoked, producers have increased THC levels by more than four-fold, and reduced the natural levels of other components that have actually been shown to reduce the high. Higher THC content can increase all of the usual negative effects of the drug.

Science confirms that the adolescent brain, particularly the part of the brain that regulates the planning of complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making and social behaviour, is not fully developed until the early to mid-twenties.

Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug use.

One of the most well designed studies on marijuana and intelligence, released in 2012, found that marijuana use reduces IQ by as much as eight points by age 38 among people who started using marijuana regularly before age 18 but stopped.

To all the young and old that were incited to the use of the cannabis sativa plant after the Statutory Instrument release, the Rechabites Trust will be running community awareness on drug abuse, join them in creating drug free communities.

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