A man prepares a cigarette mixed with marijuana. Picture: Amir Cohen/Reuters.
Durban - An organisation which represents doctors in South Africa and internationally issued a warning to South Africans after the US surgeon general sounded an alarm on the dangers of marijuana.

Doctors for Life International represents more than 1500 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. The non-profit company says it is increasingly disappointed in the South African Constitutional Court’s decision to allow cannabis use in a private setting.

“It is therefore with great concern that Doctors For Life would like to issue a special warning to all South Africans, especially our lawmakers, about the immense dangers and harmfulness of dagga. We believe South Africa stands at the threshold of making too-hasty decisions based on popular feeling often driven by selfish advocacy, rather than medical science.”

In August US Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a series of announcements alongside some of America’s top public health officials regarding the dangers of marijuana, particularly for pregnant women and youth.

At a press conference in Washington, officials discussed the first “Surgeon General’s Advisory” on marijuana since 1982.

Adams, the US’s 20th surgeon general, said science indicated that, in fact, “the actual potential harm is increasing, not becoming less, as some proponents like to claim”.

“As the nation’s doctor, I’m proud to stand with you and sound a national alarm on the harmful effects of marijuana use on the developing brain,” said Adams.

The Secretary General of the US’s Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, said although some states’ laws on marijuana may have changed, the science has not and federal law has not. Moreover, “because the concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the component responsible for euphoria and intoxication) in marijuana has tripled over the past decades, the science suggests marijuana use carries more risks than ever”.

The Mercury